Today’s events Snowboard: Men’s Slopestyle (heats) Cross Country: Ladies’ Skiathlon
Tomorrow’s events Snowboard: Ladies’ Slopestyle (qualifying) Cross Country: Men’s Skiathlon
DAY 1 REVIEW SNOWBOARD: MEN’S SLOPESTYLE at Phoenix Snow Park
Team GB Results: Jamie Nicholls 16th, Billy Morgan 22nd, Rowan Coultas 33rd
A trio of British snowboarders took to Phoenix Snow Park earlier today however none were able to qualify for the final of the men’s slopestyle.
Jamie Nicholls became the first member of Team GB to compete in PyeongChang and sent down a solid first run which scored 71.56. He was unable to improve on that after taking a fall in the second run, ultimately finishing eighth in heat one, less than two points away from a place in his second Olympic final.
Nicholls was disappointed with not progressing but his Games aren’t over and he now looks to the big air competition next week (Wed 21 Feb).
“The whole practice and in the lead up to this, in training and stuff, I felt so confident. I was actually a bit gutted about my first run score to be honest,” said Nicholls.
This picture perfectly sums up how I felt today. "Gutted" sometimes things don't go your way, but today I felt like it did, until I saw my score come in. This is competitive snowboarding and how it goes sometimes! But it only makes you stronger and want to come back and smash it even harder next time! The negatives today were out of my control but the positives were I put down a run that I was happy with and proud off in the conditions we had for my friends, fans and family back home 🇬🇧 All your messages and support have been amazing not only for me but the whole team who have had a tough old week. Congratulations to all the guys that qualified today, it was a battle and everyone smashed it! 👌 THANKS EVERYONE!! ❤ Bring on BIG AIR 🤘 J xx
“I was thinking mid 70s which was what I was hoping for, judging on what some of the other guys did. I thought my top section was really strong but obviously it wasn’t to be. I’m looking forward to big air now.”
Billy Morgan (56.40, bib 20) and Rowan Coultas (23.58, bib 19) rode in heat two, and while Morgan temporarily sat on the bubble in sixth during the first run, neither rider was able to progress with challenging wind conditions causing issues.
“On the second run I had so much headwind, there was just nothing I could do about it. I barely made it over the jump. It’s just a bad roll of the dice I guess,” said Morgan. “Hopefully we’ll be able to turn around some of the luck we’ve had today. I think we can all take it forward in the big air.”
Coultas, competing in front of his parents and brother at his first Olympics, could not fault his preparation but will use the experience to focus on his next event.
“Coming into qualification I was really happy about my riding,” said Coultas. “My training went really well and I was just ready to do it in competition. “Hopefully I’ll take everything from the slopestyle and learn from it in the big air. It’s my first Games and it’s a good experience for me.”
CROSS COUNTRY: LADIES’ SKIATHLON at Alpensia Cross Country Centre
Team GB Result: Annika Taylor 60th
Annika Taylor achieved a dream today by becoming an Olympian and will use her opening race as great experience going forward further into the Games.
Taylor finished 60th out of 61 starters in the skiathlon, but was part of an historic race with Norway’s Marit Bjoergen becoming the most decorated female Winter Olympian of all time, her silver taking her to 11 medals. The first gold medal of the Games was won by Sweden’s Charlotte Kalla with Krista Karmakoski (Finland) claiming the bronze.
After the race Taylor spoke of the pride in making it to her sport’s biggest stage, and while conditions were difficult today she is looking forward to the 10km free race on Thursday.
“It’s such a special feeling competing at an Olympic Games and being called an Olympian,” she said. “There are not that many people who get that opportunity.
“The conditions were really good although there was a strong headwind that would hit you as you were coming back in. But we were prepared for that and knew it was going to happen.
“I hope that this race just blew the cobwebs away a little bit and I can go and enjoy that race [10km free] and fight back little bit.
“The event is something I’ve been really looking forward to all year, so I hope I can go out and deliver.”
DAY 2 PREVIEW SNOWBOARD: LADIES’ SLOPESTYLE at Phoenix Snow Park 4:30am (GMT) Aimee Fuller
The British snowboard assault on the Ladies’ Slopestyle event was halved this week when Katie Ormerod was ruled out of the Games with a fractured heel sustained in practice, however Aimee Fuller will be flying the flag high at Phoenix Snow Park.
Fuller finished 17th in Sochi in the same event which saw Jenny Jones claim her historic bronze medal, and this time around she will be hoping to make the Olympic final for the first time.
The 26-year-old has seven World Cup top 10s to her credit in slopestyle, and while she has competed sparingly this winter, she capped last season with her best ever finish, fourth place in the Czech Republic.
CROSS COUNTRY: MEN’S SKIATHLON at Alpensia Cross Country Centre 6:15am (GMT) – Andrew Musgrave, Callum Smith
Andrew Musgrave is lining up at his third Olympics however the expectations he has placed on himself in PyeongChang are at a different level to those he took into the past two Games.
Since Sochi, Musgrave has announced himself as a contender on the international stage, highlighted by fourth place at last year’s World Championships in the 50km and a podium finish in January at the Tour de Ski where he was third in a 15km free stage.
The men’s skiathlon consists of a 15km classic leg before transitioning into 15km free, a format and race length which sits well with Musgrave’s strengths.
“It’s definitely different approaching these Olympics compared to the last couple of times,” said Musgrave. “Vancouver was a learning experience – I was never realistically going to be fighting for a medal. Four years later, Sochi: on a really good day, then maybe a top 10.
“It’s a different set-up now and everyone on the team is faster than they were four years ago. We have new coaches, we’re a lot more professional.
“I’ve been on the [World Cup] podium already this year at the Tour de Ski, I’m healthy now, training is good, so now it should be a realistic goal to be right up there.”
Musgrave will be joined in the event by Callum Smith, another of Musgrave’s teammates from Sochi.
Smith competed in three events four years ago, with the skiathlon earning him his highest finish.
The 25-year-old started this season on the World Cup circuit before concentrating on other races, most recently rounding out his Olympic preparations by competing in the skiathlon at the Norwegian national championships.