Baumgartner finishes fourth at Winter Olympics

IRON RIVER—The dream of capturing an Olympic medal remains tantalizingly close to becoming reality for Nick Baumgartner after his fourth-place finish in the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea.
    Baumgartner, who came storming back from a mid-race spill in the semifinals to qualify for the final with a second-place result, finished behind repeat gold medalist Pierre Vaultier of France, Jarryd Hughes of Austria and Regino Hernandez of Spain in the men’s snowboardcross final on Feb. 15.
    But things like near misses, even one as agonizing as missing a medal by one slot, don’t keep Baumgartner down for long.
    “I’ll be here in four years, absolutely,” Baumgartner said to reporters. “If I gotta go until I’m 100 to get a medal, I’m going to keep doing it.”
    Baumgartner, the oldest racer in the field at 36, may need some time to recover. After suffering serious injuries from a fall in Austria in December, Baumgartner hit the ground again in a wild semifinal race and then again in the final.
    He was limping badly on an injured left heel after the final race of his third Olympic games.
    “What an amazing experience,” Baumgartner wrote on Facebook. “I can’t be disappointed with fourth when my son (Landon) is so darn proud.”
    His son and his mother Mary made the trip to South Korea to watch their father and son compete at the highest level of his chosen sport. One of the reasons that Baumgartner continues to battle through all the sport throws at him is that he remains the eternal optimist.
    “If you don’t think you can do anything from where you’re from, you got to be kidding me,” said Baumgartner, quoted in a Washington Post story. “You can do anything you want to do.”
    What Baumgartner wants to do is keep competing, keep striving and do all he can do keep the flame of his dream of an Olympic medal burning.
    “Unfortunately, in the fi-
nal, I didn’t have my best start, so I made it really hard on myself,” Baumgartner was quoted by the Detroit Free Press after the final. “But it’s cool. It’s the biggest event. I’m 36 years old. To be here, representing the U.S., my hometown in the U.P., my family, man, I’m on top of the world.”