Czech's Samkova wins snowboard cross
By Barnaby Chesterman, AFP
February 17, 2014, 12:02 am TWN
ROSA KHUTOR, Russia--Eva Samkova of the Czech Republic hailed the moustache she paints on her face as a lucky charm after she stormed to Olympic snowboard cross gold on Sunday.
The 20-year-old led from start to finish in the final to take the title ahead of Canada's world number one Dominique Maltais.
"It's simple, it's just for luck. It's a lucky moustache but this one is special. Because of this special day it's in the national colors," said Samkova.
"It was 2011 in La Molina (at the) world championships. That was my first world championships and I painted a moustache and I was fifth.
"It was my best result in that time so I decided to paint it all the time, and it gives me luck."
France's Chloe Trespeuch took bronze after avoiding a late collision between Michela Moioli of Italy and Alexandra Jekova of Bulgaria.
Samkova was in a class of her own throughout the day's competition, finishing top of the pile in the morning's time-trial runs to decide seedings for the competition proper.
She then led from start to finish in all three rounds, avoiding the carnage often taking place behind her.
"My coach told me the best thing I can do is just be in front of them," said Samkova.
Her coach, Jakub Flejsar, said he enjoyed how dull her races were.
"I thought she's going to win because she's the best of the girls," he said.
"It was more about the pressure on her. I knew that if she didn't make any mistakes, she'd get it.
"She's the best in sucking down the jumps and pushing the rollers. She's got fast legs and good timing. It was actually pretty boring but we liked that."