ROSA KHUTOR, Russia (Reuters) - Julia Dujmovits wants to party for a month and Benjamin Karl is hoping for a holiday in Egypt after they broke Austria’s Extreme Park medal drought at the Sochi Olympics on Saturday.
Dujmovits won a surprise gold medal to become the first Olympic champion in the snowboard parallel slalom, while Karl took the bronze in the men’s event to add to the silver he won in giant slalom four years ago.
Austria’s strengths lie in more traditional Winter sports but leaving Sochi without a medal in snowboarding or freestyle skiing would have been quite a comedown after they won three in Vancouver four years ago.
It was redemption of a sorts for both boarders after they disappointed in the parallel giant slalom on Wednesday - Karl upset in the first knockout round and Dujmovits failing to get through qualifying.
“Right now, I can’t cope with this situation,” a euphoric Dujmovits said after beating German Anke Karstens in the final.
”Thanks to all the people who believed in me and for them keeping their fingers crossed. At the (parallel giant slalom) we couldn’t show our level. Today, this was the answer.
“I told my friends that whatever happened at the Olympics, we should put aside a week to party, maybe we need a month now.”
As a twice world champion in parallel slalom, Karl had legitimate hopes of walking away with the first Olympic gold medal in the event.
Beaten in a dramatic semi-final by a remarkable comeback from eventual champion Vic Wild, though, he had no complaints about the color of his medal.
“The president of the Austrian ski federation said to me, ‘If you win the Olympics, I will pay for you to go on holiday to Hawaii’,” he said.
”I didn’t make it, but maybe he will give me a trip to Egypt.
“My goal was to bring home a gold medal, but the bronze is blinking like gold right now. I am only 28 so for sure I will be riding in Pyeongchang.”
While Karl paid an emotional tribute to the contribution his mother had made to his success, Dujmovits said she had been inspired by the presence of her rower boyfriend Bernhard Sieber, who will be hoping to compete in the next Summer Olympics.
“In the end he paid a lot of money and we needed a lot of connections from the Austrian Olympic team to get him here,” she said. “For sure, he gave me power and it’s just amazing because I love him.”