Making it to the Olympics has been a dream of Alex Deibold's - who is from Manchester, Vt. - ever since he was a young boy. Not only did he realize that dream at the start of the Olympics, but on Tuesday he was able to stand atop the podium on the world's greatest stage after winning the bronze medal in snowboardcross (SBX).
Following a brief celebration in which Deibold - a member of the Olympic U.S. Snowboardcross B-Team - was mobbed by teammates after crossing the finish line, he spoke with NBC's Tina Dixon.
"The conditions were variable all day long just like they were last year and I've always been able to put that aside and today all I focused on was my own riding," said Deibold. "I couldn't worry about what the other riders were doing and every time I was in the gate I just focused on my own game and it paid off."
Last year, Deibold took a silver at the Sochi World Cup and made finals four out of five World Cup starts in 2013. In 2011, he took seventh and fifth at World Cup races and earned a spot on the World Championship Team.
After winning the medal, Deibold took to Facebook, saying "Wow. So that happened. Thank you to all the people who have supported me along the way, I wouldn't be here without you."
In 2010, Deibold attend the Olympic Games in Vancouver, Canada, working as a wax tech for the US Team - something he said he used as motivation for the hard work he has done leading up to this year's Olympics.
"It paid off," Deibold said in his interview with Dixon. "All the hard work, all the sacrifices I've made. It's been such a long, hard road and every moment was absolutely worth it."
Deibold graduated from Stratton Mountain School in 2004 where he spent his last three years of high school and there has been a lot of excitement at the school following his bronze medal run, according to officials.
"I think everybody at SMS is just so incredibly excited and proud for him," said Director of Communications at SMS Meredith Morin. "Just knowing that he had gone to the 2010 Olympics as a wax tech and when he talked to me before the Olympics he was just so excited to actually be able to go and compete and I think he's probably the most grateful Olympic medalist there ever was. He gave it his best and he came home with hardware and I don't think there's anything better than that."
Alex Lehmann, the Academic Dean at Stratton Mountain School and Deibold's former English teacher, remembers Deibold as being a very mature and focused young man who was a very nice person and was also very thoughtful and considerate of his teachers and peers. When Lehmann saw Deibold win the bronze on Tuesday, he said he experienced some strong emotions.
"It's the kind of thing that we celebrate from a distance, but I know that there is an incredible amount of pride here and just a feeling of joy for Alex for his success because he's been at it for a long time and he's stayed focused and he's stayed committed to this goal," Lehmann said. "So, I was so happy for Alex. It was truly sort of an emotional thing to see him finish third and then to watch him celebrate in such a sincere way because I know that's who he is and I just couldn't have been more psyched for him. His hard work paid off as he keeps saying."
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