As Jeff King moved toward the finish of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race race Monday, the only thing standing between the four-time champion and a record-tying fifth win was the brutality of Mother Nature.
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He left the White Mountain checkpoint less than 100 miles from the end, confident of victory, and then disaster struck.
“It smacked of quite an irony to have such a perfect execution and dominant position for winning, only to feel like the thumb of God pinned me to the ground and said ‘not so quick Bucko, you’re not in charge,'” he said in his first post-race interview with the media on Wednesday.
A fifth win would place King in an an elite status shared by only one other musher, the legendary and semi-retired Rick Swenson from Two Rivers. Fierce winds and icy conditions, however, forced the Denali Park musher first out of contention and then out of the race.