America and Russia will always seem to be forever linked in the Sochi Olympics, and the odd but very inspirational story of Vic Wild and his wife will be included to constant link between the two. Both Wild and his wife, Alena Zavarzina, compete in the snowboarding parallel giant slalom event in which both came out successful. Alena won bronze just minutes before her husband took the course for the men’s competition, and Wild took home the gold for his newly adopted country, Russia. The former American felt it was the right move for the career he loves, and the woman he had fallen for, to make the major change in his scenery and ultimately win Russian gold.
Wild and his wife met while competing during the numerous World Cup snowboarding racing circuits that traveled around the world; Wild represented the United States during that span of time, while Zavarzina raced for Russia. After the funds seemed to slow down for the sport in the US, Wild needed to make a decision whether or not his event was a career path worth taking, or if he just wanted to be the average Joe not living out his dream as a professional athlete. He knew how serious the Russians were about his sport and had to take action quickly to be able to have a chance at someday obtaining Olympic gold. Vic Wild and Alena Zavarzina were married in July 2011, and shortly thereafter the once-US citizen finally received his Russian citizenship.
Of course, none of this comes without some drama or blame to stir the pot between countries. A few fellow Olympians had stated that Vic Wild was left in the cold by his country, saying that changing his citizenship was his only chance at obtaining gold in the Olympics. Funds were supposedly more feasible for other snowboarding competitions, like the half-pipe event and slopestyle. The former American vowed his love to the sport, and pleaded to the Russian Alpine Ski and Snowboard Federation that if they accepted him on the team, they would never regret it. Ever since, the new Russian has gained nothing but support from his fellow countrymen and women, and embraced by his equally successful wife.
Vic Wild has never once voiced a disparaging comment towards the US for their lack of support for his event, and is just focusing more on being as successful as possible for the country that took him in. He felt the gold medal for the giant slalom may be a good start at repaying their good faith in him while planning on bringing home more in the future. Russia is only one medal away from catching the U.S. in the medal race thanks to Vic Wild and his love after today’s events, but still will need some more help, with the Russian hockey team being knocked out of the tournament. The Sochi Olympics still have a little ways to go, and if an American can bring home a gold for the Russians because of love, they must have faith that good karma will help produce another for the home country.
by Justin Huffman