Brit reaches semi, Canada gets gold

16th February 2010, by Chris Gill

Victory trio in snowboard cross   []

Victory trio in snowboard cross []

Britain’s Zoe Gillings has finished a very respectable eighth in the Olympic women’s snowboard cross, reaching the semi finals. But it was Canada that eventually took the gold medal, with a storming victory from Maelle Ricker.

World Cup leader Ricker fell in her qualifying run, but sped way ahead of the pack in each of the quarter, semi and final rounds. The silver medal went to France’s Deborah Antonioz when unexpected falls by Olivia Nobs of Switzerland and Helene Olafssen of Norway allowed her to push through to second position. Nobs carried on to take the bronze.

Zoe Gillings reached the quarter-finals in a strong position, putting in a very fast qualifying run, but finished third in the semi-finals – unable to catch Nobs and Olafssen in her group. Her battle for a fifth-to-eighth place ended near the start, when she pulled up abruptly near the first jump – possibly affected by a recurring injury.

There was disappointment for Lyndsey Jacobelli too, a favourite for a medal. The American was unable to lay her Turin 2006 demons to rest in Vancouver, finishing in fifth position. The 24-year-old was the third fastest qualifier going into the semi finals and looking good, but up against Ricker she started very fast and took too high a line through one of the berms. The error put her out of the race and almost toppled Ricker too.

It was a fantastically nail-biting conclusion to the rather weather-interrupted women’s snowboard cross competition – fog and wet snow made course conditions very testing for the riders. But a delighted Canadian crowd went away with their second medal in snowboard cross and their second gold in freestyle competition, having taken the men’s skiing moguls title too.

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