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Schmid rises, everyone else falls during skicross debut

WEST VANCOUVER, British Columbia - The men who finished second through 32nd did all the crashing, flipping and jostling - turning the skicross course into their own, snow-packed demolition derby.

The man who finished first? Not nearly as entertaining.

Hard, though, to criticize Michael Schmid of Switzerland, who left the drama for the others and kept the gold medal for himself yesterday, finding the easy way through the trouble-filled terrain to win the title in the Olympic debut of skicross.

"Once you're ahead, you can race your own race," Schmid said. "Once you're in front, it's easy. A lot easier than being behind somebody."

Schmid easily outpaced Austria's Andreas Matt and Norway's Audun Groenvold in the final. Chris Del Bosco - a Colorado resident who competes for Canada - let third slip when he got too aggressive on the next-to-last jump and went flailing.

Skicross is the cousin of snowboardcross, which debuted to rave reviews in the 2006 Olympics. It's a made-for-TV sport, though the winners in skicross are, quite often, the ones who take all the fun out of it. - AP

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