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Winter Olympics Draws to a Close

No medals on snow, but Gus Kenworthy comes 8th in ski half pipe and Andrew Musgrave does himself proud in cross-country. The women curlers take gold, with the men curlers winning silver. Check out the latest. UPDATED

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Saturday 19th February

Comments from Team GB’s Andrew Musgrave after he finished 12th in the 50km Mass Start Free that was shortened to a distance of 30km due to adverse weather conditions.

Andrew Musgrave

Age: 31 Hometown: Norway; Trondheim

Result: 12th

On the performance

“It was a bit of a tough one. I was feeling a lot better today than in the two previous ones I’ve done.

“It was a little bit strange that the 50km suddenly got changed to a shorter race. But I couldn’t really do anything about that and just had to go out and make the best of it.

“I was feeling pretty good but on the second lap France’s Maurice Manificat increased the pace a wee bit and I felt it was just a little bit too fast.

“Out on the third lap, I was a little bit in the red and just couldn’t keep pace with the front guys. It was a fight to not lose too much time and keep my position.

“It ended up being a lot better day than the previous two races but it wasn’t quite what I dreamed of either.”

On strong first half

“It was definitely better than the previous two races but it is a shame it was the last Olympic race.”

On distance change due to adverse conditions

“I was a little bit annoyed. 50km is meant to be the ultimate endurance race and I felt like it wasn’t quite the same.

“I like 30km as well, I know I’m strong on both of them. It’s a similar sort of race, preparation and warm-ups are all the same. I was annoyed but at the same time it didn’t affect my preparation.”

On fourth Games

“It has definitely been a different Games but I feel like Team GB has done a super job of making sure we have everything we need.

“It has been a good experience in spite of not quite racing as fast as I wanted to.”

Gus Kenworthy fell twice before he secured an eighth-place finish in the ski halfpipe.

It brings his freestyle skiing career to an end.

Comments from Team GB’s Gus Kenworthy who came eighth in the men’s halfpipe final.

Kenworthy was competing at his third Olympics, the first for his country of birth after switching from USA, and confirmed he will now retire from competitive skiing.

Gus Kenworthy

Age: 30 Hometown: USA; Telluride

Result: 8th

On the performance

“Today was a pretty big struggle, we showed up and it was the windiest it has been since we’ve been here in Beijing, very, very cold.

“Just tough conditions to compete in. I think everybody had to end up modifying their run and adapting what they were doing and I did too.

“I still felt pretty good and felt that I could potentially do well and end up on the podium but I knew it was going to take a well executed run which is hard when it’s like this.”

On recovering after his fall on the second run

“Second run I had a pretty bad slam. I was feeling sore and knew that my third run was going to be my last contest run ever and that was my motivation.

“I dug deep and was able to put it down but it was pretty loose and windy, it wasn’t the run I wanted to do but I was grateful to make it down in one piece and end on my feet.

“I was still planning on doing a switch double on the second to last hit, I felt the wind as I was coming into it. That happened in my first run and I fell on that trick and I didn’t want to fall on the same trick on my last go.

“I felt the wind and did a switch 720, then had a bit of a weird landing at the bottom. It’s all good, it wasn’t quite what I hoped for but I’m still pretty proud of it.”

On third Olympics

“I’ve had a great time, I feel very lucky to be back here for a third Games and doing it for Team GB has been awesome. I just love all the people at the programme and the other athletes.

“The Olympics has changed my life, it has provided so much, all the opportunities I’ve had through skiing and my silver medal [for USA at Sochi 2014] is crazy to me and I feel very lucky.”

On competing for Team GB after switching from USA

“It has been so special. This last performance was for my mum and doing it for GB.

“I hope I made her proud, I’m sure I did. It wasn’t a medal or quite what I set out for but it all comes down to the day and it was a tough day today.”

Update:

Andrew Musgrave has dropped down to 14th after 20km.

There an 8-strong group at the front led by Simen Hegstad Krueger from Norway.

Friday 18th February

Zoe Atkin has taken 9th place.

The 19-year old fell on two of her three runs in the halfpipe final.

China’s gold medallist Eileen Gu became the first freestyle skier to win Olympic medals in three different events.

Zoe Atkin, who qualified in fourth for the final, finished ninth after scoring 73.25 in her final run.

China’s 18-year-old Gu won with 95.25 to add to her big air gold and slopestyle silver.

Team GB’s Zoe Atkin speaking to BBC TV: “I had some speed issues which led to me not being able to do some tricks I wanted to do. I’m glad I put one run down because I fell on my first two.

“To be able to ski in the Olympic is an amazing opportunity and I was really glad to make it to the finals and make it this far on my Olympic debut.

“I definitely wanted to land a good, clean run that was a bit bigger with some harder tricks but unfortunately I didn’t have the speed.”

Thursday 17th February

Both of GB’s halfpipe skiers have successfully made it through to Friday’s finals.

19-year-old Zoe Atkin qualified in 4th place.

Gus Kenworthy scraped through taking the 12th and last qualification spot for the men’s event.

There’s still hope for a medal a snow for GB.

Zoe Atkin & Gus Kenworthy at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics – photo © Sam Mellish/Team GB

Wednesday 16th February

It was a disappointing day for GB’s Dave Ryding in the slalom.

He finished in 13th place.

See here for our separate report on PlanetSKI:

Dave Ryding in his first run at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics – photo © David Pearce/Team GB

GB Snowsport looked at the positives for Dave:

Tuesday 15th February

Kirsty Muir takes 8th spot in ski slopestyle, with Katie Summerhayes coming 9th.

This was their reaction.

Kirsty Muir

Age: 17 Hometown: Aberdeen

Result: 8th

On the performance

“Overall just happy to be in the final but a little disappointed, just making a couple little mistakes.

“All the girls have been smashing it but I would have hoped that I could have been in the running maybe.

“But honestly it’s amazing to see the progression in women’s sport right now.

“My [third] run was looking a lot better up until that point. I was really happy with it and then just too much speed on the second jump.”

On the springboard that impressive performances on her Olympic debut will give her

Definitely, I’ve got a lot to train for and I’ve learnt a lot here. Train a lot and compete in the World Cups and then in for Italy (2026).”

On going back to school

“As soon as I get home I should be in school! I fly home on Thursday, so definitely the Monday. Maybe even the Friday, I’ve got a lot to catch up on!”

On what she has to do to jump up to next level

“I’ve got a lot to work on, so it’s really nice to have some time to do that.

“The sport is moving at a really fast rate, so I’ve got a lot to do to keep up with it but this gives me motivation to keep working.”

On continuing her education and skiing

“This is my last year of school. I’m thinking either a gap year or head to uni this year.

“If I take a gap year, I’m just going to focus on skiing and then maybe go to uni alongside.”

On competing with Chinese poster girl and silver medallist Eileen Gu and what she is doing for the visibility of the sport

“There’s so many awesome girls on the circuit. I just want to keep sending it and enjoy everything.

“I think we can definitely get some more people seeing our sport and I really hope some more young people can get involved in it.

“I hope this has maybe inspired them. I’ve got a few friends back home that will hopefully be up for it.”

On what song she listens to when skiing

“Arctic Monkeys – 505. It’s got a really good flow to it. It’s the song I always listen to.”

On the support

“Everyone at home is really proud of me and it’s really nice to have everyone’s support.

“I’ve had messages from my family and friends and I saw that Judy Murray tweeted me and that was really cool. The support at home is unbelievable and I’m really thankful for everything.”

Katie Summerhayes

Age: 26 Hometown: Sheffield

Result: 9th

On the performance

“I mean obviously my goal today was to come and get a medal but I just had an absolute blast out there.

“I’m just really happy with the way I skied and I’m just enjoying myself really. I’m just from Sheffield – like it’s pretty crazy that I’m here really.”

On conditions

“It’s pretty cold but with the fresh snow last night it made it really nice because for the past week it has been really icy but it was really nice and soft today. It was definitely the best day we’ve had.

“With the cold it makes it a little bit difficult but everyone is in the same position.”

On the high standard

“The standard is amazing and to be a part of that is crazy. I’m super proud to be in that and just watching the girls is just amazing and I’m really proud of what they are doing.”

On where this ranks with other two Olympic finals

“Today I thought that I could get on that podium. But the thing that has changed for me is just that I had so much fun today.

“Not like I’ve not had fun [before] but it was a different kind of vibe for me. I wanted to go out and enjoy myself and I feel like I did that.

“The past two Olympics I’ve been in tears at the bottom and I’m absolutely cheesin’ now, so I’m really happy.”

On the future

“I need to take some time, get through the rest of the season and have a bit of a break because it has been full on and decide what I want to do.

“I’ve had so much fun today and I don’t want to stop yet, so we will see.”

On whether Kirsty can podium in four years’ time

“Definitely. But the thing with our sport is anyone has the potential to be on the podium.

“Sometimes it can all just come together on the day and you get that momentum where you win. I think that is the most exciting thing about our sport, anybody could win.

“I can never call the podium; I never know what it’s going to be.

“Other sports, you say, ‘Ah, I know this person is going to win,’ but for us it’s totally different.”

James ‘Woodsy’ Woods pulled out of the men’s ski slopestyle qualification which was due to take place today.

Yesterday he posted on social media that he was in pain with an injury, just as he had been at the Sochi Games in 2014.

“Eight years later to the day and once again in some uncanny, ironic, sadistic, joke of a coincidence I’m again full of pain killers and strapped up in bed the night before Olympic Slopestyle.

“Unfortunately this morning my back completely seized up due to heavy landings throughout the Big Air event and Slopestyle practice and I’ve been unable to move freely or without pain all day.”

The quest for a GB medal continues.

On snow the options are running out.

On Wednesday the slalom skier Dave Ryding will look to build on his maiden World Cup gold with a slalom medal at what is his fourth Winter Olympics.

On Thursday the freestyle skier Zoe Atkin will be keen to follow in her sister Izzy’s footsteps with a medal.

Zoe Atkin,  a bronze medallist at the 2021 World Championships,  goes in the halfpipe on Thursday, with the finals on Friday.

It will be four years since her sister won Team GB’s first Olympic skiing medal.

Fingers crossed for both.

Monday 14th February

Comments from Team GB athletes after the early action in Beijing on Monday.

Freestyle Skiing

Comments from Team GB’s Kirsty Muir and Katie Summerhayes after they both qualified in the top 12 for tomorrow’s slopestyle final.

Muir, who came fifth in the Big Air final earlier in the Games, finished sixth in qualifying with a best run of 70.11 and Summerhayes, who missed out on making the Big Air final by one place, progressed in tenth spot with 66.56.

Kirsty Muir

Age: 17 Hometown: Aberdeen

Result: 6th in qualifying

On qualifying

“Yeah, I’m really happy to have made it through. I need to clean some things up but I’m really happy.”

On the first run which took her through

“I did have a few mistakes, so I was hoping to clean up the second run. I didn’t manage to but going into tomorrow I’m looking forward to it, I just want to clean it up.”

Kirsty Muir, ski slopestyle qualification at 2020 Beijing Winter Olympics – photo © Sam Mellish/Team GB

On qualification being postponed by a day due to the weather

“Yesterday’s conditions were really tough, so I’m glad today was better and glad to have got through it.”

On the final tomorrow

“Yeah, I’m really excited. I just want to go and get a clean run. See if I can up my run and go and have some fun.

“I’m stoked to have Katie in the final with me.”

Katie Summerhayes

Age: 26 Hometown: Sheffield

Result: 10th in qualifying

On qualifying

“Yeah, I’m pretty happy. Obviously, I just squeaked through, it’s pretty nice no matter what place you qualify, just so long as tomorrow goes well.

“I’m pretty stoked to get another chance.”

On her first run being her best run on the scoreboard

“No, that run was pretty bad. I landed sideways on a jump so that’s not good and there were a couple of mistakes in both of the runs.

“It’s quite nice going forward to tomorrow knowing that I can clean both runs up. I’m pretty pumped, it has given me a little bit of confidence as well.”

Katie Summerhayes, ski slopestyle qualification at 2020 Beijing Winter Olympics – photo © Sam Mellish/Team GB

On qualification being postponed by a day due to the weather

“It feels pretty weird because yesterday we prepped for the comp, and we were almost ready to go and they cancelled it.

“Although it seems like we did nothing, it was a really intense day so we had an extra day of it really.”

On the final tomorrow

“I’m pretty stoked. Obviously with Kirsty as well it’s great. Stoked to be here and represent Team GB again.”

Reaction from GB coach, Pat Sharples:

Sunday 13th February

Saturday 12th February

Friday 11th February

Thursday 10th February

The chair of the funding body, UK Sport, says she is “not panicking yet” at the lack of a single medal for Team GB after five days of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.

Dame Katherine Grainger’s comments came after the disappointment of hot medal favourite Charlotte Bankes going out early in the Snowboard Cross (see entry below for Wednesday 9th).

The BBC reports Grainger as saying she believes Team GB will deliver.

“We’re only day five. I was out in Pyeongchang [in 2018] and it was day seven before we saw a medal, so we’re not panicking yet,” she said.

Team GB won five medals at both the 2018 and the 2014 Winter Olympics.

Before the Beijing Games, UK Sport set a target of between 3 and 7 medals.

While Charlotte Bankes was the best GB prospect for a medal on snow, there are still possibilities that GB’s skiers and snowboarders will make the podium.

Izzy Atkin, a bronze medallist in Ski Slopestyle at Pyeongchang goes in the event on Sunday, though she has just returned from a serious injury.

She suffered a broken pelvis at the Dew Tour in December and withdrew from the Big Air competition earlier this week to give herself more time to recover for Slopestyle.

Kirsty Muir is also in the Ski Slopestyle.  The 17-year-old finished an impressive 5th in the Big Air (see entry below for Tuesday 8th).

There are other freestylers who could well deliver to, among them James ‘Woodsy’ Woods, who was 4th in Ski Slopestyle in Pyeongchang.

Some say it is just good that Great Britain is even competing for medals.

James Woods during Slopestyle practice at 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics- photo © Sam Mellish/Team GB

And, of course, in alpine there’s Dave Ryding in the men’s slalom on Wednesday next week.

After his first World Cup victory earlier this season, it’s not out of the question that he will excel on the artificial snow.

It’s worth remembering that the unexpected does happen.

At the 2018 Winter Olympics, Billy Morgan won a surprise bronze medal in the Snowboard Big Air right at the end of the Games.

Wednesday 9th February

After Kirsty Muir’s impressive 5th place in the Ski Big Air on Tuesday, there were high hopes that another Brit, Charlotte Bankes, would go a few better and make the podium in Snowboard Cross this morning.

Instead, she suffered a shock exit in the quarter finals.

The 26-year-old was arguably GB Snowsport’s best prospect for a medal in Beijing.

“It’s kind of frustrating to have the worst race of my season here at the Olympics,” she said.

Bankes came to Beijing leading the World Cup standings, with three wins, a silver and bronze medal already this season.

She is the current World Champion.

She made a good start but a small mistake cost her and she was edged out on the finish line.

Charlotte Bankes, Snowboard Cross, 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics – photo © Sam Mellish/Team GB

“For sure I’m disappointed, frustrated with how it went,” she said.

“It’s a tough day for me, we didn’t come here for this with the team. It’s boardercross, we just need to look further ahead now.”

Bankes said she did not feel too much pressure from being one of the favourites for gold in the event.

“Honestly, I didn’t feel much more pressure than any other World Cup this season. So, I don’t think it’s the pressure, unfortunately I just didn’t do the race I wanted today and it’s frustrating to do that at the Olympics.”

Charlotte Bankes is consoled after her quarter final exit at Beijing 2022 – photo © Sam Mellish/Team GB

Lindsey Jacobellis (USA) won gold, 16 years after missing out on the Olympic title at Turin in 2006.

The 36-year-old famously showboated while in the lead near the finish in Turin which cost her the gold medal.

Chloe Trespeuch of France took silver and Canada’s Meryeta O’Dine the bronze.

In Alpine, it was another bad day at the office for the USA’s Mikaela Shiffrin.

She went out early on her first run in the Slalom, just as she had in the Giant Slalom.

Petra Vlhova of Slovakia won to take her first Olympic title.

Katharina Liensberger (Austria) was second and Wendy Holdener (Switzerland) third.

There were mixed fortunes for the British pairing of Alex Tilley and Charlie Guest.

Tilley failed to finish the first run, while Guest was pushed down the field by a mistake in run two, finishing in 21st place.

She had been lying in 15th spot after the first run.

Charlie Guest at 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics – photo © David Pearce/Team GB

“I wanted to give myself the best shot of top 15, top 10. I really tried and took a lot of risks but obviously it didn’t pay off for me today,” Guest said.

“But I’m so excited with how this whole season has gone and I’m really excited that my skiing is good enough to be in that top 15 as we saw in the first run.”

Tuesday 8th February

Kirsty Muir, from Aberdeen, already has a Youth Olympics silver medal and a World Cup silver medal, but this is her first time competing at a senior Winter Olympic Games.

Getting to the Ski Big Air final is, in itself, a huge achievement for the 17-year-old, but to finish 5th out of the 12 finalists is a brilliant result.

And there could be more to come.

She goes in the Ski Slopestyle later in the Games.

“It was an amazing competition and the level was just insane,” Muir said after the final.

“It feels amazing to be competing against these girls because their level is so high.

“I’m super happy with how I skied. To beat someone like Sarah Hoefflin (the 2018 slopestyle Olympic Champion) who is an amazing person is super cool.

“This was different from anything else, I was just so excited and everything went well.

“I’ve got so much time to come again, train and get better.”

Kirsty Muir, Ski Big Air 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics – photo © Team GB/Sam Mellish

Muir landed a high-scoring Dub 12 trick in her first run which put her in bronze medal position with 90.25 points (out of 100).

“I’m here to go for it and I’m really proud of myself for doing that. I’ve landed that trick before but I tried it with a different grab and I’ve only ever done that once before in competition, it’s the best I’ve ever done it.”

She backed it up with a solid second jump.

For her final jump, Muir attempted the Switch Misty 10 for the first time in her career.

Although she failed to land it, her final score of 169.00 was enough to hold off Switzerland’s Sarah Hoefflin and take 5th place.

⭐ Kirsty Muir ⭐ 5th place in your first Olympic Games, and the first Olympic Big Air Competition, at just 17 years old! Take a bow! 👏👏👏👏 #TeamGB #Beijing2022

Posted by GB Snowsport on Monday, 7 February 2022

 

Muir’s 5th place is the highest finish for a GB athlete so far in any of the snowsports competitions at the Beijing Games.

Now, she says, she can’t wait for the Slopestyle.

The qualification round takes place on Sunday 13th February.

Kirsty Muir, Ski Big Air 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics – photo © Team GB/Sam Mellish

The Ski Big Air was won by Ailing Eileen Gu (China).  The silver went to Tess Ledeux of France and the bronze to Mathilde Gremaud of Switzerland.

Away from the British team, there was a big story in the men’s Snowboard Slopestyle competition on Monday.

Canada’s Max Parrot won gold with what he said was the “best run of his life”,  three years after being diagnosed with cancer.

The result was something of a fairytale ending after Parrot’s gruelling and lengthy chemotherapy treatment.

But there was controversy over the judging of his second run.

Replays suggested he missed a grab off one of the kickers but the error appeared to have been missed by the judges.

His second-run score of 90.96 gave him the title, with China’s 17-year-old Su Yiming taking silver and Canadian Mark McMorris securing the bronze.

BBC commentator Ed Leigh said the mistake should have cost Parrot two or three points.

“There were three points between bronze and gold – that would have totally upended the podium,” Leigh said.

RELATED ARTICLES

In the Cross-Country Sprint, there was disappointment for GB’s two skiers.

Neither Andrew Young nor James Clugnet made it through to the 30-man final.

James Clugnet at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics – photo © Team GB/Sam Mellish

Clugnet finished 40th and Young 36th.

“That was a hard one. Not quite the race that I was hoping to do. I pushed as hard as I could and it didn’t work out,” Clugnet said, adding: “I’ve always performed my best at championships, so it’s a bit boring that today it didn’t work out. But 40th is still an OK result at the Olympics.

“We’ll try to do better on team sprint next week and it can only get better from here.”

Young had been suffering from Covid-19 just three weeks ago.

The race was won by the defending champion, Norwegian Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo.

Federico Pellegrino (Italy) took silver, with bronze going to Alexander Terentev, representing the Russian Olympic Committee.

Andrew Young and James Clugnet will compete again in the team sprint on 16th February and as individuals in the 15km classic on Friday.

Young will also go in the 50km mass start free on the 19th February.

“I think I’ll get better and better the further I get away from illness. I’ll get better every day that goes by and today’s race will make me better in the following races,” Young said.

“I’m looking forward to getting stuck in and I’ve got three events left.

“I’m really looking forward to the team event with Jimmy, I’ll keep my head down, keep working and hope to get better every day.”

Andrew Young at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics – photo © Team GB/Sam Mellish

Coming up …..

So, no medals yet for the GB Snowsport skiers and snowboarders, but could that be about to change?

There are high hopes for Charlotte Bankes in the women’s Snowboard Cross.

The competition takes place on Wednesday 9th with the first seeding run scheduled for 3.00am GMT.

Bankes is currently leading the World Cup rankings and is the reigning World Champion.

She already has 3 World Cup victories, a silver and a bronze from this season’s competitions.

Fingers crossed she makes it all the way through to the finals (scheduled for around 7.45am GMT) and onto the podium, maybe even to the top step.

Charlotte Bankes at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics – photo © Team GB/Sam Mellish

For ski racing fans, there’s the women’s slalom to enjoy on Wednesday.

Charlie Guest and Alex Tilley line up for GB.

All eyes will be on the USA’s Mikaela Shiffrin.

Can she come back from her disappointment of skiing out in the first run of the Giant Slalom – the discipline in which she was defending champion?

We would not bet against her.

Shiffrin has 47 career slalom World Cup victories, more than any skier in the history of the competition.

Read the first part of our Winter Olympics rolling blog, with our selection of the news up to 7th February, plus details of all the GB skiers and snowboarders taking part and our assessment of their medal chances:

The full schedule for all sports at the Winter Olympics can be found here.

MAIN PHOTO:  Zoe Atkin  – © Sam Mellish/Team GB

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