Canada's Éliot Grondin snags snowboard cross silver medal in photo finish_freckle removal wollongong

Canada's Éliot Grondin snags snowboard cross silver medal in photo finishCanada's Éliot Grondin, 20, surged to snowboard-cross silver on Thursday at the Beijing Olympics.

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20-year-old completes turnaround from early elimination at 2018 Olympics

Myles Dichter · CBC Sports(Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)

Canada's Éliot Grondin is familiar with Austrian snowboard cross competitor Alessandro Haemmerle, having spent plenty of time together on the World Cup tour.

The two were reacquainted on the Olympic stage on Thursday in Beijing, when Grondin was forced to settle for silver in a photo finish behind Haemmerle at the Genting Snow Park. Italy's Omar Visintin rounded out the podium with bronze.

"Pretty unreal. I don't even realize it yet I think, just to be on the podium here at 20 years old," Grondin told CBC Sports after the race.

The Sainte-Marie, Que., native was competing at his second Olympics after being eliminated in the 1/8 final four years ago in Pyeongchang when he was just 16.

WATCH | Grondin edged by Haemmerle at finish line:

Quebec's Éliot Grondin settles for silver in Olympic snowboard cross photo finish

10 hours agoDuration 4:56Éliot Grondin of Sainte-Marie, Que., finished in second place, just behind Austria's Alessandro Haemmerle in the Beijing 2022 Olympic men's snowboard cross big final.(Maja Hitij/Getty Images)

Grondin did manage to make some headway on the final jump. He eventually slid with his snowboard up at the finish line next to Haemmerle to force the photo finish.

But Haemmerle ultimately won gold by two-hundredths of a second.

"I kind of knew I was going to be silver, but I tried everything I had," Grondin said. "Just to share the podium with Alessandro is amazing."

It's the second medal in snowboard cross in as many days for a Canadian after Meryeta O'Dine took bronze in the women's race.

WATCH | O'Dine takes bronze in women's race:

Meryeta O'Dine claims snowboard cross bronze at Beijing 2022

1 day agoDuration 5:25Meryeta O'Dine of Prince George, B.C., finishes third in the women's snowboard cross big final at the Beijing Olympics.(Marco Bertorello/AFP via Getty Images)

Grondin emerged on the international scene ahead of Beijing, taking bronze at the 2021 world championships and gold at the world juniors.

He won his first-ever World Cup event less than a year ago in Bakuriani, Georgia.

Now, he's an Olympic silver medallist. And his career is just taking off.

"I'm racing guys that are almost 30 years old, and I'm just 20. So they've been on the tour for so many more years than I have. So just getting to race more with those guys in a big final, getting the experience for sure it helps a lot." 

"And now I feel like I'm part of those big guys."

WATCH | Full replay of men's snowboard cross finals:

Snowboarding - Men's Snowboard Cross Final

12 hours agoDuration 1:43:47Watch Snowboard Cross action on Day 6 of the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022.'Strongest team in all of snowboarding': Canadian squad named for Beijing Olympics

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