Nicholls secures stunning sixth as slopestyle is Olympic hit
February 8, 2014 10:09 am
Jamie Nicholls secured Great Britain's best Winter Olympic finish in a snow sport in 46 years with a sixth place finish in the first-ever snowboard slopestyle final in Sochi.
Nicholls, just 20, was in the medals after one run of the final but will certainly have no complaints with a stunning and career best result.
It's the best Team GB men's performance on snow since Martin Bell's downhill eighth in 1988 and the best overall since Gina Hathorn's slalom fourth at the 1968 Grenoble Olympics, British downhill skier Felicity Field also placing sixth at the same Games.
Nicholls scored 85.5 from judges on his first run but was eventually nudged out of the medals as the USA's Sage Kotsenburg took gold while Norway's Staale Sandbech and Canada's Mark McMorris completed the podium.
"I did the best I could do," said Nicholls. "That was the best run of my life and that standard of riding was insane and unreal."
British team-mate Billy Morgan also made the final with a brilliant qualifying performance in the semis, posting a 90.75 score that would have been good enough for bronze when it mattered.
But he failed to land tricks on both his final runs, despite getting fans off their feet with a massive triple on the final jump of his first run.
However, just making the final was a major achievement for the 24-year old, who finished fourth at last year's World Championships and settled for tenth in Sochi.
Morgan picked up a knee injury during summer training and rather than undergo surgery, which would have ended his Sochi ambitions, underwent months of gruelling rehab, defying medics by competing here without an anterior cruciate ligament.
"My second run in the semi final was the best run of my life," said Morgan.
"I just went too big in the final but it doesn't matter if you're fourth or 12th - if you're not on the podium it doesn't count. I'm still really pleased, I got through to the final."
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