American snowboarder Vic Wild boosted his adopted country’s medal count for a second time today.
Wild, who’s competing for Russia, won his second gold medal in Sochi in the parallel slalom final. He won the men’s parallel giant slalom earlier in the week.
“It has taken a lot of hard work, man. When everyone else in the summer is taking vacation, I am working hard,” he said after the win.
Wild, who was born in Washington state, said that he didn’t have the support from the United States Olympic Committee or the United States Snowboarding Association to pursue his Olympic dreams at home. So he went abroad.
The 27-year-old is also married to a Russian Olympic snowboarder, Alena Zavarzina, who won bronze in the parallel giant slalom just minutes before her husband.
“I didn’t have the support I needed. The USOC and the USSA do a great job but not everyone can be happy. I don’t hold a grudge. I am here now doing what I want to do and it’s all good,” Wild said.
Wild told ESPN he joined the Russian snowboarding team because the country invests in Alpine snowboarding, unlike the U.S. team, which focuses its funding on halfpipe and snowboard cross.
“I want to thank Russia for giving me the opportunity to win a gold medal,” Wild said after his first triumph, telling reporters that though he now lives in Moscow he has not learned to speak Russian. “My teammates helped me so much. I don’t think many of them like me, but I really appreciate it.”