Alexei Grishin isn't even the best aerial skier on his team. That honor goes to Anton Kushnir, who leads the World Cup in aerials and was expected to take home gold in Vancouver. But a funny thing happened on the way to the podium — Kushnir crashed and failed to qualify for the finals.
So instead, Alexei Grishin became the first Belarussian athlete to win a gold at the Winter Olympics. Not a bad turn of events for the 30-year-old who was competing in his fourth Olympics.
To the tune of Metallica's "Enter Sandman," Grishin scored high enough on his final jump to best Jeret Peterson and his "Hurricane." When Canada's Kyle Nissen's legs buckled on his landing, Grishin had made Belarussian history.
After Peterson's astounding trick put him in first, Grishin thought, "I was up there and said to myself, 'I have to do it.' "
- Alexei Grishin