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Team Canada snowboarder Eliot Grondin competes in the men’s snowboard cross seeding event during the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games on Thursday, February 10, 2022. Photo by Kevin Light/COC *MANDATORY CREDIT*Photo by Kevin Light/COC
Photo by Kevin Light/COC

Snowboard Cross: Eliot Grondin starts the World Cup season on the podium

Two-time Olympic medallist Eliot Grondin started the Snowboard Cross World Cup season the same way he ended it — on the podium. Grondin captured the bronze medal in the men’s competition at the first FIS Snowboard Cross World Cup of the season on the newly build cross course at Les Deux Alpes in France.

After finishing second in his semifinal heat, Grondin posted a time of 1 minute and 6.79 seconds in the big final to secure bronze. Germany’s Martin Noerl (1:06.47) topped the podium and Italy’s Omar Visintin (1:06.99) finished with the silver medal.

The 21-year-old Canadian had previously flown through the qualification round, finishing fifth. The final day of competition was postponed by 24 hours, due to strong winds in the region on Saturday.

This is the Quebecer’s seventh medal overall on the snowboard cross World Cup circuit. Grondin closed the the 2021-22 Snowboard Cross World Cup season, on top of the podium in Switzerland. At Beijing 2022, he won the silver medal in the men’s event. At 20 years and 297 days old, Grondin was the youngest ever Olympic medallist in men’s snowboard cross.

The new Les Deux Alpes venue is one of the highest ski areas in the Alpes. With the start being at almost 3400m, a length of 1100m and 24 elements it is a challenging season start for snowboard cross athletes.

Fellow Canadians Liam Moffatt and Evan Bichon finished in 38th and 40th, respectively. Tristan Bell ended the competition in 53rd.

In the women’s event, Audrey McManiman was the top Canadian in 11th position. Kennedy Justinen finished 28th and Lily Bellaar Spruyt 33rd.