- Devon O'Neil, Writer, Action Sports
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ASPEN, Colo. -- Chris Del Bosco won his second Skier X gold medal in three years Sunday, passing No. 1 qualifier Jouni Pellinen halfway down the course to redeem himself after relinquishing his own lead in last year's final.
Del Bosco, a Colorado native who holds dual U.S. and Canadian citizenship and races for Canada, is the fourth man in Winter X Games history to win two Skier X golds. His victory Sunday would have been his third in a row had he not allowed American John Teller to pass him at the last moment in 2011. Del Bosco now holds two WX gold medals as well as a silver (2011) and bronze (2006).
Slovenia's Filip Flisar took silver and Dave Duncan claimed bronze to make it two Canadians on the podium. When Del Bosco won gold in 2010, he led a Canadian sweep.
"This is huge," said Del Bosco, who overcame alcohol and drug addiction to save his athletic career. "I've kind of had an up-and-down season, and I finally got on the top step here. This is the biggest event for us, so I'm just stoked to be here."
Pellinen appeared to be in position to win gold, but when he lost speed on a series of rollers in the middle of the course, Del Bosco shot by the Finn like a cannonball and never looked back. The 29-year-old champ is known for his ability to squeeze every inch of speed out of a course's terrain features, a superlative skill evident in his sweep of all three of his heats Sunday. "It's a long race so if you're not out in front you can be patient and not really force things, just wait for a few spots where you can make things happen," Del Bosco said. "I just waited until that middle section, and that was it."
Said Duncan: "It's great seeing Chris on top again."
One of the Winter X Games' most perplexing streaks was extended when Teller wiped out in his semifinal heat; no man in the 15-year history of Skier X has won back-to-back golds.
Del Bosco joins Lars Lewen, Reggie Crist and Aspen local Casey Puckett as the event's only two-time champions. Racing in his final professional competition, Puckett beat the odds to make Sunday's final after skiing only "a handful" of days leading up to this week. He finished fifth after taking bronze last year, then confirmed his retirement after the race -- his 10th Winter X appearance in a row.
"This is it," Puckett said. "No more."
Check out full results from the Men's Skier X finals.
Devon O'Neil is a freelance writer who writes for ESPN.com Action Sports.
Canadian racer Chris Del Bosco won the gold medal in Men's Skier X on Sunday at Winter X Games 2012.