PARK CITY, Utah – Snowboarder Chris Klug's unbelievable comeback from liver transplant surgery reached a stunning crescendo Friday, when he won the bronze medal in the parallel giant slalom.
"This is the most fun day of my life," said Klug, who only 19 months ago was in an operating room for the life-saving surgery.
Klug's bronze gave the United States its 14th medal of the Winter Games, breaking the record last set in 1998.
Philipp Schoch of Switzerland, the second-slowest rider in qualifying Thursday, won the gold, defeating Sweden's Richard Richardsson, who took silver.
Isabelle Blanc of France upset countrywoman and defending Olympic champion Karine Ruby to win the women's gold medal. Lidia Trettel of Italy took the bronze.
After winning his bronze, Klug hit his fist against his heart, then pointed over to his father, his girlfriend and the dozens of other overwhelmed friends and family who came to see him.
A few moments later, Klug scaled two retaining fences to share hugs with all his supporters. Tears flowed in some parts, but Klug just smiled, then headed back toward the finish line for the flower ceremony.
"I don't even know what to say," said Klug's girlfriend, Missy April. "Everything he's done is a miracle."
CANADIAN SKIER INJURED: A member of the Canadian Alpine skiing team was seriously injured in a training accident Friday morning and was airlifted to a hospital in Salt Lake City.
David Anderson, 22, from Rossland, British Columbia, had multiple fractures to his arms and legs and a possible head injury, said Jess Gomez, a spokesman for LDS Hospital. He was conscious and alert, Gomez said, but in serious condition.
"He was warming up for the Super G on the race hill and he hit a cable from a grooming machine," said Joze Sparovec, leader of the Canadian Alpine team. "Right now everything is uncertain."
Friday was an off day in the Alpine program. The men's super giant slalom is scheduled for Saturday.
Anderson finished 38th in the downhill last Sunday. The Super G was scheduled to be his final race at the Salt Lake City Games.
CROSS-COUNTRY SKIING: Olga Danilova of Russia won the women's pursuit cross-country gold medal Friday. Larissa Lazutina of Russia won the silver, and Beckie Scott of Canada won the bronze.
LUGE: Olympic rookies Patric Leitner and Alexander Resch of Germany won the gold medal in luge doubles on Friday, just ahead of the two American sleds as the United States won two medals in the event for the second straight time.
Leitner and Resch finished the two-heat race in 1 minute, 26.082 seconds. Mark Grimmette of Muskegon, Mich. and Brian Martin of Palo Alto, Calif., won silver in 1:26.216. Chris Thorpe, of Marquette, Mich. and Clay Ives of Bancroft, Ontario won the bronze in 1:26.220.
Thorpe is only the second slider to win Olympic medals with different partners. He won at Nagano with Gordie Sheer, who retired two years ago. Klaus Bonsack of Germany won gold at Grenoble in 1968 with Thomas Kohler and bronze at Sapporo in 1972 with Wolfram Fiedler.
For the United States, it was their second 2-3 Olympic finish in doubles. The U.S. still has not won a singles medal. Adam Heidt's fourth-place finish in men's singles on Monday is the team's highest finish.
Leitner and Resch, two-time world champions, carried on the rich legacy of the German luge team. Since luge was added to the Winter Olympics in 1964, the Germans have won nine of the 11 doubles gold medals.
Grimmette and Martin seemed destined for their second straight bronze but edged their teammates by just .004 of a second when Thorpe and Ives made a mistake near the end of their second run.
For Thorpe, it was the end of a memorable career that began in 1984 and ended with his fourth Olympic appearance. He is retiring and his wife Kriste is expecting a baby in March.