Mick Dierdorff competes in the men’s snowboard cross qualification at the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics on February 10, 2022 in Zhangjiakou, China.
His career included a fifth-place finish at the 2018 PyeongChang Olympic Winter Games and, more recently, a spot on the team that competed at the Beijing Games, where he finished 15th.
Heading into the 2022 Games, Dierdorff said he believes a podium spot is his. And right from the start, that’s how he overtook Austrian Alessandro Haemmerle in the first elimination round to finish first. But when he tried to do it again in the quarter-finals, he got stuck in a corner and spun. Haemmerle eventually won gold.
“It was difficult,” recalls Dierdorff. “Coming into the Olympics, I had found a spark and a fire where I was running like in previous years. The best I can compare is when I won the world championship in 2019. I had felt like I could do something special that day.
In 2019, Dierdorff became the first American to win a snowboardcross world title in 14 years after Scott Westcott in 2005.
Although the past two years, he said, have been about learning how to face adversity and dealing with it. It’s a skill that everyone navigates.
“Beijing was much more of a mental challenge, knowing it was a different circumstance,” he said of the coronavirus-laden Games. “But that’s been the world for the past few years,” Dierdorff said.
Now that his season is over, he was happy to know that he had done his best. “At the end of the day, I came through the season healthy, and that’s a big item on the list at the end of the year. My ultimate goal was to get to the Games, so it was great to knowing that I had succeeded.
As for next season, he doesn’t yet know what it will look like.
“I will probably do less shopping. I would like to have a season where I can do more things at home and spend time with the kids at the winter sports club — attending some of their practices,” Dierdorff said. “It’s one of my objectives for next year, it’s to be more present. And then, in the races I participate in, give your best and have as much fun as possible.
Until then, he continues to contribute to his community as a skilled carpenter and helps build homes around Steamboat Springs.
“I am blue collar. I grew up working in construction, doing carpentry and building houses. This is my passion. And what I plan to do outside of sports for the rest of my life,” he said.