Australia entered the snowboard cross event with high hopes of winning a medal, but those high hopes were almost instantly dashed.
It wasn’t a good day for the Aussies as three of our four men’s snowboard cross teams crashed in qualifying for the event.
PyeongChang silver medalist Jarryd Hughes had a day of horror, dropping out of the event early, while only Cam Bolton was able to advance to the quarter-finals.
Meanwhile, an Australian Olympian has apologized for ‘crying like an ab****’ after a moment of heartbreak came to an abrupt end on live TV on Wednesday.
‘I’m so sorry’: Australia’s brutal elimination
Australia had high hopes of a monster snowboard cross campaign, but only one of our four stars made it through to the quarter-finals of the event.
It was a tough day as the ranking races didn’t quite go Australia’s way as Cam Bolton, eighth, was the highest ranked Australian, while Adam Dickson (15th), Adam Lambert ( 17th) and Jarryd Hughes (28th) left the Australians with plenty of work to do.
It didn’t improve after the qualifying round as only Cam Bolton was able to advance to the quarter-finals.
Dickson had a good run in his race but was beaten on the inside of one of the corners by American Jake Vedder, while Hughes suffered a race shock, collapsing as he rounded a corner .
And it didn’t get better with Bolton unable to hold on after coming back into contention after a slow start.
He finished fourth in his quarter-final.
Hughes, who won silver in PyeongChang in 2018, was on the verge of tears after the result and apologized to Australia.
“It was nice to have a hug from everyone – holding back my tears – I’m just really disappointed with my result,” Hughes told Channel 7. “I was happy with my driving ability. I Had a bit of bad luck with the wind in the time trials, but I was riding well.
“It’s been a lot to recover, especially from surgery. But I’ve been feeling fine for a few weeks. I finally felt like it was all coming together.
“But I was very lucky. I called (Lydia Lassila) at the very last minute and got a lot of good advice from her.
“I couldn’t put it together and I’m so sorry.”
When told he didn’t need to apologise, Hughes added that it was ‘not what I came to do’ and that it was a ‘crappy result’.
However, he said he might be there for the next Olympics.
The news got so bad for Hughes that he was dropped from the mixed team event after his performance, despite him and Belle Brockhoff being the reigning world champions of the event.
And to stir salt in those wounds, even if Australia got a second team – which they’ll find out at 4pm on Friday – Hughes won’t even be in that team.
Australia’s top team will be Brockhoff, who finished fourth in the women’s competition, and Bolton following their quarter-final run.
If Australia has a second pair, it will be Josie Baff and Adam Lambert.
America is losing its mind over the ‘once in a lifetime’ superstar
Nathan Chen demolished the competition to win Olympic figure skating gold in Beijing on Thursday, easily beating defending champion and fierce rival Yuzuru Hanyu twice, who finished fourth.
The American scored 218.63 in his free skate on Thursday, building on his world record short program score on Tuesday to finish more than 20 points clear of second-placed Yuma Kagiyama of Japan.
As the music died down, Chen lowered his head back in elated relief. Olympic gold had been the only major prize that had eluded the three-time world champion so far.
Skating to Elton John’s “Rocket Man,” 22-year-old Chen lived up to his nickname “Quad King” in a routine in which he landed five quadruple jumps, to enthusiastic cheers from the crowd.
And America has lost its mind.
Hanyu, who finished behind fellow youngsters Kagiyama, who is only 18, and Shoma Uno, had looked in trouble as he crashed twice in his routine earlier.
His free skate score of 188.06 was a far cry from his all-time high of 212.99.
“Honestly, I feel like everything went wrong this time, but I tried my best,” Hanyu said.
After a shaky start Tuesday in the short program, where he finished eighth, the Olympic champion at the Sochi 2014 Olympics and Pyeongchang 2018 needed to close an 18.82-point gap to beat Chen.
He first attempted a quadruple axel – a jump no skater has ever done in competition but which he had insisted on performing at the Beijing Games.
He failed to land it and fell on the ice.
He quickly rose but fell again, before continuing his “Heaven and Earth” program with his usual precision.
Looking crushed as the music died down, Hanyu, 27, recovered and skated out of the rink with his head held high, the crowd still cheering him on.
“I think I did everything I could. I definitely landed a better axel than the previous time,” Hanyu said.
“Part of me thinks I could have done better, but that’s the best I could have done, I think.”
Kerry nails her figure skating routine
Australia’s flag bearer Brendan Kerry was on the verge of tears after being told his score in the men’s free skating event on Thursday afternoon AEDT.
The 27-year-old broke his personal best with a clean program in Beijing, registering a score of 160.01 to briefly hold the top spot in the standings.
“I’m so, so happy,” he later told Channel 7.
“It wasn’t just the best of the season, it was a personal best by far… I don’t really have words for that.”
Kerry ultimately escaped the medal chase, but regardless, it was a solid performance from the Aussie hero.
“He struggled in free-to-air programs for a number of years,” Australian great Belinda Noonan told Channel 7.
“He set the best of his entire career.
“Such a beautiful technique. His upper body remains absolutely rock solid throughout. He was in the zone.
He previously placed 20th at the 2018 Games in Pyeongchang, but his worst possible result in Beijing can only be 17th.
Program for Day 6 (Australians in action)
From 12:30 p.m. — Figure skating, men’s free skating (Brendan Kerry)
From 12:30 p.m. — Skeleton, men’s series 1 (Nick Timmings)
From 2 p.m. — Skeleton, men’s series 2 (Nick Timmings)
From 2:15 p.m. — Snowboard, men’s snowboard cross qualifications (Jarryd Hughes, Adam Lambert, Adam Dickson & Cam Bolton)
From 6 p.m. — Cross-country skiing, women’s 10km classic (Jessica Yeaton & Casey Wright)
From 6:15 p.m. — Snowboard, men’s snowboard cross finals (Jarryd Hughes, Adam Lambert, Adam Dickson & Cam Bolton)
* All AEDT times
Text messages reveal Australian Olympic truth
Australia’s lack of snow means sports fans in the country are not well used to Winter Olympics events in Beijing.
Although Australia usually looms large in the Summer Games medal tally, gold medals at the Winter Olympics are few and far between.
But despite this, Australian sports fans have been absolutely captivated by the wild events in China.
From the curling exploits of the Australian duo of Dean Hewitt and Tahli Gill to the snowboarding rush, Aussies have been glued to their TV screens this week.
Do we know all the rules? Absolutely not – even some of the Channel 7 commentators were a little overwhelmed.
Former Hockeyroos and AFLW star Georgie Parker shared an exchange of text messages on Twitter that perfectly encapsulates Australia’s stunned admiration for the Beijing Games.
The American star wins the country’s first gold medal
US ski star Mikaela Shiffrin’s Beijing Olympics threatened to turn into a winter nightmare, but snowboarder Lindsey Jacobellis won Team USA’s first Games gold on Wednesday.
Six gold medals were up for grabs on day five of competition in the Chinese capital, but Shiffrin’s wait continues in his tentative pursuit of a third career Olympic gold in alpine skiing.
The 26-year-old made a surprise exit from the giant slalom on Monday and with the pressure suffered the same fate in the slalom, with rival Petra Vlhova of Slovakia taking full advantage.
Vlhova produced a stunning second leg to clock a combined 1min 44.98sec over both runs and edge reigning world champion Austria Katharina Liensberger in silver by eight hundredths of a second.
In stark contrast, Shiffrin slid wide after just a handful of gates before skiing in the first stage, then threw herself into the snow with her head in her hands.
The American said she felt “pretty bad”, although she added: “But it won’t feel bad forever. I just feel pretty low right now.
Shiffrin will compete in three more individual events in Beijing, with the super-G on Friday, followed by the downhill on Tuesday and the alpine combined on February 17.
Olympic storm explodes, 15-year-old Russian named
The medal ceremony for the figure skating team at the Winter Games has been delayed by a legal issue, the International Olympic Committee announced on Wednesday, before reports emerged of a doping problem within the Russian team.
The Russian Olympic Committee or ROC – known as that because Russia’s anthem, flag and name were banned from major competitions following the brazen state-sanctioned doping program – won the gold medal. gold, with the United States taking silver and Japan taking bronze, but the ceremony was pulled from its scheduled Wednesday slot.
IOC spokesman Mark Adams cited a “legal consultation” with the sport’s governing body, the International Skating Union, as the reason for the delay.
As mystery continued to swirl around the situation, reports emerged Thursday morning (AEDT) of a positive drug test by a skater with the ROC team.
Respected Olympics website Inside the games Exclusively reported 15-year-old sensation Kamila Valieva was at the center of the legal issue responsible for the heist.
According to USA todayone of the six-person Russian team skaters had tested positive for a banned substance and Russian media later reported that Valieva was that skater.
Russian newspapers RBC and Kommersant said Valieva had tested positive for trimetazidine, a drug used to treat angina – chest pain caused by a lack of blood flow to the heart.
The Kremlin was asked about the situation and spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: “Let us wait, for the sake of understanding, for explanations either from our sports officials or from the IOC.”
— with AFP