OLYMPIC SILVER FOR GB’S KIRSTY MUIR
22nd January 2020 | Jane Peel, Chief Reporter
Last modified on February 3rd, 2020
The 15-year-old freestyle skier from Aberdeen takes GB’s only individual medal at the Lausanne 2020 Youth Olympics. She’s on the podium in the Big Air.
It is a huge achievement for the talented young skier.
And it was so nearly a gold medal, too.
She was rewarded by being selected as Team GB’s flagbearer at the Closing Ceremony on Wednesday evening.
Muir had qualified for the final in third place so a medal was a realistic possibility.
The final involved three runs, with the best two counting.
After the first two runs, Muir was clearly in the lead.
With the competitors going in reverse order for the third and final run, Muir would go last.
Ailing Gu, the 16-year-old from China, took over the top spot with a fantastic score on her final run.
Could Muir topple her from the top of the podium?
She put down a smooth cork 9 tail for which the judges awarded 87.5 points.
It left her just 1.25 points short of Gu in the silver medal spot.
It could hardly have been closer.
Gu’s final score was 171.25, Muir’s 170.00.
The bronze medal went to Jennie-Lee Burmansson of Sweden with 151.75.
“I am just so delighted – [Ailing Eileen] Gu had some amazing runs and she is a really great skier – she was amazing today,” Muir said.
“All the girls were amazing and I was just happy to get the runs down.
“It is definitely a competition between friends and we support each other and hope everyone does their best.”
After Muir’s success, it was announced that she would carry the flag for Team GB at the Lausanne 2020 Closing Ceremony.
“I’m so excited. It’s going to be such a cool experience and I’m honoured to be asked,” she said.
“I’m really happy with how I’ve skied and this is the perfect end to the week and I’m just so proud to represent Team GB.”
Her silver in the Big Air comes after she just missed out on a medal in the Slopestyle competition at the weekend, finishing 4th.
“Kirsty is thoroughly deserving of being Team GB’s flagbearer at tonight’s closing ceremony,” Team GB’s Chef de Mission at Lausanne 2020, Georgie Harland, said.
“Not only have her performances during these Games been first rate, but she has also really lived the Team GB values, getting involved with and enjoying the activities provided by the Lausanne 2020 organising committee and also making a positive impact in a vibrant Team GB HQ.
“Today’s silver medal is a fitting way to bring the Games to a close but myself and my team are also keen to recognise the great efforts across the board from these young, promising British athletes who have represented their country with great pride and effort throughout.”
Muir is the first British skier to get a medal in a Big Air competition at an Olympic Games.
Ski Big Air will have its senior Olympic debut at the Beijing 2022 Games, following the success of Snowboard Big Air at Pyeongchang 2018, where GB’s Billy Morgan won bronze.
Muir joins Izzy Atkin (Pyeongchang 2018 slopestyle bronze) and Madi Rowlands (Lillehammer 2016 Youth Olympic Games halfpipe gold and slopestyle bronze) as GB’s only holders of ski medals from an Olympic Games.
Muir’s Youth Olympic silver adds to her collection of medals on the world junior stage.
She won silver in the slopestyle and bronze in the Big Air at the World Junior Championships in Sweden in April 2019.
It’s proof if more were needed that she is a force to be reckoned with.
She is already a full member of the GB Park & Pipe squad and will be looking to qualify for her first senior Winter Olympics in Beijing in 2022.
She hopes her success will encourage more young people to try the sport.
“I am proud to inspire the next generation and I just try and ski how I ski and hopefully that will continue to inspire people” she said.
Muir’s 17-year-old team mate, Jasper Klein, made it through to his Ski Big Air final, finishing 9th.
MORE GB SNOWSPORT SUCCESS…
The day after Muir’s Youth Olympic silver, GB snowboarder Katie Ormerod collected her second World Cup medal in 7 days.
She won silver in the slopestyle at Seiser Alm in Italy to follow up her bronze at the Laax Open slopestyle.
The 22-year-old has well and truly bounced back from the injury that kept her out of action for 18 months to win back to back medals.
“I am unbelievably happy to finish in second place at the Seiser Alm World Cup!” she said.
“I am super excited about my riding and to get back to back podiums is the best feeling ever”.
Competing in a high-class field, she finished with a score of 72.11 with only Australia’s Tess Coady (73.48) bettering her.
Ormerod will now wear the Yellow Bib as World Cup leader and will be back in action in Mammoth and Calgary next month.
Millie Knight & Brett Wild
Congratulations also go to GB Para skier Millie Knight and her guide Brett Wild.
On Tuesday they won their first World Cup gold medal in three years.
They topped the podium in a giant slalom in Kranjska Gora, while fellow Brits Menna Fitzpatrick and Gary Smith took the bronze.
Knight and Wild had won bronze the day before, which was the pair’s first podium in two years following a long lay-off for Knight to recover from injury.
“It has been a long time coming and there have definitely been days where both Brett and I thought that we would never get back to this position, but we have,” Knight said after the victory.