ROSA KHUTOR — Snowboarder Vic Wild won his second gold medal for adopted country Russia on Saturday and shrugged off accusations that he had turned his back on the U.S. for financial reasons.
Wild added the parallel slalom title to the giant slalom gold he collected on Wednesday, a win that prompted criticism in the U.S. about his switch.
"No matter what you do in your life, people are going to hate you," Wild told a news conference. "If you are good at something, people are going to hate you. It Is just the way it is."
Wild said his decision had nothing to do with financial incentives.
"After the giant slalom there was a lot of questions: 'How would you have done if you were riding for the U.S., compared to riding for Russia?'" the 27-year-old said.
"I want everybody to understand — there was no question of, 'If I continue riding for the U.S., this is what I am going to get, and if I start riding for Russia this is what I am going to get.'"
Wild said he had intended to quit snowboarding to go to college when the opportunity to represent Russia came up.
"I chose to continue snowboarding because I thought I could do something special," said Wild, who became a Russian citizen after marrying Alyona Zavarzina, the women's giant slalom bronze medalist in Sochi, in 2011. "I thought I had never reached my potential and I wanted to see how good I could get.