Well well, haven’t the Winter Olympics been just what the doctor ordered? With the miserable weather here in the UK trying to dampen our spirits, we’ve been delivered a dose of sunshine with the winning of not one, but two Olympic medals.
The first one came in the form of Jenny Jones, a pint-sized Bristolian who flipped her to the glory in the women’s snowboard slopestyle and came out with a bronze. Her teammate Aimee Fuller went out in the semi-final, but the 22-year-old put on an impressive performance, proving she’ll be a force to be reckoned with in the future. Similarly, in the men’s competition, Jamie Nicholls and Billy Morgan flew the flag for Great Britain, finishing in 6th and 10th place respectively. This was slopestyle’s debut in the Games and it’s safe to say its firmly put itself on the map.
Team GB’s second medal came from Lizzy Yarnold in the skeleton, an event in which the UK has rather excelled at over the past few years, and it was gold once again. Great Britain have won a medal in this event in the last four Winter Olympics: Sochi 2014 (Lizzy Yarnold), Vancouver 2010 (Amy Williams), Turin 2006 (Shelley Rudman) and Salt Lake City 2002 (Alex Coomber). Taking the crown from Amy Williams and keeping the gold in its home country, Yarnold was unstoppable as she destroyed the rest of the field by winning by almost a second. Turin silver medallist Shelley Rudman finished in 16th place.
The most nail-biting event so far has surely been the men’s snowboard halfpipe. With surprises and upsets left right and centre, it left many of us on the edge of our seats. Favourite Shaun White ended up finishing in 4th place, whilst 15-year-old Ayumu Hirano from Japan took the silver. It was I-pod from Switzerland who finally took Shaun White’s golden crown, landing a ‘YOLO’ which ultimately sealed his fate.
Thrills and spills came today in the women’s snowboard cross. Britain’s Zoe Gillings was unlucky to not make the final after a dramatic photo finish left her in fourth place with the top three going through (After the small final she ended up finishing in a very respectful 9th place). With many of the favourites going out in the quarter finals, the door was left wide open for Eva Samkova of the Czech Republic to take the gold, dominating the competition in every round.
In the alpine skiing events, today’s men’s super-g has ultimately been the most exciting of the events so far. Kjetil Jansrud of Norway continued his amazing form with a comfortable win ahead of Andrew Weibrecht of the USA and Bode Miller and Jan Hudec in joint third place. Miller will be disappointed he couldn’t bring home the gold, but at least he’s not going home empty handed. Weibrecht will no doubt be surprised with his second place. After winning bronze in the same event in Vancouver, he has overcome injuries, illness and a wavering form to take the silver. Hudec has overcome injury, winning Canada’s first ever medal in an alpine skiing event – It is hard to believe it has never been done before.
The women’s super-g was a little more controversial, with a contested course, soft snow and a start list full of non-finishers, it was Anna Fenniger of Austria who stepped up to the plate. Luckily for the Austrian’s it was their coach who set the course, and with another Austrian in the form of Nicole Hosp in the bronze medal position, it certainly worked to their advantage. Maria Hoefl-Riesch of Germany, gold medallist from the super-combined took silver. GB’s Chemmy Alcott was one of the one’s to struggle in the difficult conditions, finishing a disappointing 23rd after a big mistake towards the bottom of the course. Her best result has come in the downhill – 19th place in her fourth and final Winter Olympics.
What to say about the women’s downhill? An Olympic first with a tie for first place between Tina Maze of Slovenia and Dominique Gisin of Switzerland. Lara Gut had to settle for the bronze, and will be hoping she can pull something out for the giant slalom on Tuesday.
With only a week left of the 2014 Winter Olympics, there is still plenty to look forward to. Fingers and toes are crossed for Team GB’s Dave ‘The Rocket’ Ryding in the giant slalom (19th February) and slalom (22nd February) – Will we see a repeat success of his form in the 2013 Europa Cup? One hopes so!
Fingers are also crossed for Rowan Cheshire, who suffered a nasty crash in training earlier today and is recovering from concussion in hospital. Let’s hope she will be fit enough to compete in the women’s ski halfpipe on Thursday.
Go Team GB!