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EMILY DEFIES THE RANKINGS - Jane Peel, Chief Reporter
Friday February 23, 2018 - Email this article to a friend

Britain's ski cross racer Emily Sarsfield got to the Olympics at the third attempt and she's made it count, getting through to the quarter finals.

The self-funded athlete, who's held down multiple jobs in the summer to fund her training and travel to competitions, finished in 16th place overall. 

It's GB's best result in an Olympics.  The previous best was Sarah Sauvey's 34th in Vancouver when the event made its debut. 

Sarsfield couldn't compete at Vancouver in 2010 because of a career-threatening injury and she was controversially not selected for Sochi.

She was then out of action for almost two years, having her knee rebuilt.

Pyeongchang was likely to be the last chance for the 34-year-old to become a Winter Olympian so she was thrilled to make it.

Emily SarsfieldEmily Sarsfield at the Olympics at last

"To be here at this event is huge for me and to be racing against these amazing girls is super cool. It meant a huge amount to me today," she said.

Sarsfield came through Thursday's seeding runs in 22nd place out of 24.

Based on the seedings, she would have been expected to go out in the first elimination race where only two out of the three skiers racing against each other would qualify.

But she benefited from a fall by the 11th seed, Canada's India Sherret, to get as far as the quarter finals.

Emily Sarsfield through to the quartersSarsfield through to the quarters

She finished fourth in her quarter-final behind Brittany Phelan (Canada), Alizee Baron (France) and Debora Pixner (Italy).

"That was my aim to go out there with a smile on my face," she said.

"Conditions were a bit different to training and the seeding run because we had 10 centimetres of fresh snow and that can really affect our speed.

"We had to throw all our training out the window and learn some new tactics and we were doing different things on the track to what we had in training.

"The one thing I'm known for is a strong start but I think I tried a bit too hard there."

Emily SarsfieldEmily Sarsfield

Canada took the top two spots on the podium with Kelsey Serwa claiming gold from Brittany Phelan and Switzerland's Fanny Smith in third.

Highlights to look out for on day 15.....

Saturday is the penultimate day of competition and GB is still waiting for a fifth medal, which would make it the team's most successful Winter Olympics.

Saturday is also the last day of competition on snow. 

Snowboard men's big air final

Billy Morgan will appear in his second Olympic final as the medals are decided.

Snowboard big air is making its Olympic debut in PyeongChang and Morgan took one of the last places in the final after finishing sixth in his heat earlier in the week.
The 28-year-old was a finalist in slopestyle four years ago in Sochi where he finished 10th, and he will be aiming to record another top 10 result for the GB Park and Pipe squad in PyeongChang.

Billy MorganBilly Morgan

In qualifying, riders took the best score of their two runs to determine their position.

In the final each of the 12 finalists will get three runs with their best two scores added together to determine the overall ranking.

"It's going to be mental in the final," said Morgan after Wednesday's qualifiers. "I would need a lot of luck to podium now after seeing what's going on.

"But anything can happen, I will try my best."

He's been enjoying a bit of down time to relax ahead of the final, visiting the South Korean coast with his teammates.

You little rippa! Day out to the coast with the boys. @teamgb @visauk

A post shared by Billy Morgan (@billy_morgman) on Feb 23, 2018 at 1:15am PST

A bar in Morgan's home town of Southampton is reopening at midnight to show the final on a big screen.

The View Bar decided to open up and  invite  suppporters to contact them if they wanted to attend.   
The final begins at 10am (1am GMT) and Morgan will be the second rider to drop.

Alpine team event

It's the first time the Winter Olympics has had a team event and GB's four alpine skiers in Pyeongchang will compete.

Dave Ryding and Laurie Taylor will compete 48 hours after they both achieved impressive results in the slalom, alongside Alex Tilley and Charlie Guest.
Laurie Taylor & Dave Ryding Laurie Taylor & Dave Ryding

The team event is a head to head race over a shortened parallel slalom course with giant slalom gates. 

Two women and two men from each team will face off against each other in individual match-ups with one point recorded for each victory.

If the scores are tied after the four races, combined times are used to determine the winning team.

Ryding, in particular, has had success in this format with two top four finishes in World Cup parallel slalom events. Alex Tilley also qualified well in this format at Courchevel in December.

The British quartet is seeded 12th and has been drawn against USA(fifth seeds) in the first round, however the Americans are without superstar slalom specialist Mikaela Shiffrin who is not participating.

That opens the door for Britain who collectively have had better slalom results at these Games than their opponents.

Should they win their way through the opening round, Team GB will face a difficult quarter-final assignment against Norway or the Olympic Athletes from Russia.

The racing begins at 11am (2am GMT).

Cross country men's 50km classic

Andrew Musgrave has had a mixed Olympic campaign in PyeongChang combining historic results with relative disappointment but he has one last chance to show his wares in tomorrow's 50km classic mass start.

Andrew MusgraveAndrew Musgrave

The 50km event is one which placed Musgrave firmly in the international spotlight last year when he was fourth at the World Championships in Finland, less than three seconds off the gold medal position.

While that event was raced in the free skate technique and not the classic which is being contested in PyeongChang, the result is a testament to Musgrave's endurance which will come to the fore.

Musgrave has predicted tomorrow's race will be "long, hard & brutal... just the way cross-country skiing is meant to be".

The 27-year-old has already achieved three top 30 results in as many events at these Olympics.

To put that in perspective, prior to PyeongChang, Great Britain has only earned four top 30 results in cross country skiing in the previous 13 Winter Olympics combined.

The 50km starts at 2pm (5am GMT)

Snowboard women's parallel giant slalom

Find out whether Ester Ledecka from the Czech Republic can make history and win medals in both skiing and snowboarding at the same Olympics.

The world champion snowboarder shocked the world - and herself - by winning gold in the Super G on skis borrowed from Mikaela Shiffrin.  Lindsey Vonn only managed to come sixth in that race. 

Ester LedeckaA shocked Ester Ledecka wins the Super G

The chances are high that the 22-year-old will go home not just with two medals but with two golds.

While there are quite a few athletes who have two golds from a single Games, no one has done it in two completely different disciplines. 

Qualification rounds start at 9am (Midnight GMT) with the small and big finals starting at just after 2.25pm (5.25am GMT)


Great Britain's women's rink faced heartbreak for a second Olympics in a row, getting knocked out in Friday's semi-final against Sweden.

They lost the chance to go into the gold medal match, which would have guaranteed them at least a silver medal.

In Sochi after losing in the semi final they went on to win bronze and will have to attempt to pick themselves up from the disappointment to do the same in Pyeongchang.

The bronze medal match against Japan is at 8.05pm (11.05am GMT)

Read more of our earlier stories from the Games.....

And PlanetSKI's guide to what's on when ...

And our rolling Olympic blog of anything that takes our fancy....

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