PyeongChang Update: Emotional moment for ice dancers Coomes and Buckland
Snowboarding

PyeongChang Update: Emotional moment for ice dancers Coomes and Buckland

19 February 2018 / 05:38
Penny Coomes and Nick Buckland defied the odds to finally take the Olympic stage.

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When athletes talk about going ‘on a journey’, few would have the same rollercoaster story as the British ice dancers.

They were 20th on their Olympic debut in Vancouver and slowly started to inch their way up the world rankings, securing a tenth place in Sochi four years ago, just a few weeks after winning bronze at the European Championships.

Success in ice dancing is never overnight. You have to serve your time and establish your credentials in the minds of judges but Coomes and Buckland were charting the right path.

But, when you are absent from competitions, you are quickly forgotten.

Coomes’ pneumonia forced the team to withdraw from 2015 World Championship but 12 months later they finished seventh - everything back on track for PyeongChang.

And then, during a practice session that summer, Coomes suffered a horror fall and smashed her knee into eight pieces, an injury most thought would end her career.

“It felt amazing being out there after everything we’ve been through,” said Coomes.

“It was a very special and powerful moment. When something you love so much goes, it’s the most amazing feeling in the world to have it back.

“I’ve had two surgeries and a lot of blood, sweat and tears and it was an all-time low. I couldn’t walk for three months and it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever had to go through. 

“While I wish it never happened, I am thankful for the journey because I’ve found a lot of inner strength.

“I hit an all-time low and I was not in a happy place, which just isn’t me. We’ve had to fight every step of the way in our career but we’ve grown stronger and because of how hard we’ve had to fight, it means more to be here.”

Coomes and Buckland danced to the same short programme that Torvill and Dean performed when they won bronze at the 1994 Lillehammer Games, the last time British figure skaters won an Olympic medal.

But Buckland - who received a text message from Christopher Dean before competing - admitted some disappointment with the scores, which ranked them tenth heading into Tuesday’s long programme.

“We got nice high technical scores but the component scores from the judges were perhaps a little bit conservative," he said. 

“We have quite a low world ranking after missing last season and that hurt us a little bit if I'm being critical.”

Freestyle skiing

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Rowan Cheshire finished ninth in women’s halfpipe qualifying to progress to Tuesday’s finals. The result comes four years after she was ruled out of her Olympic debut, after suffering a heavy fall in pre-event training.

However, Molly Summerhayes missed out, finishing 17th with a career best score.

“It feels amazing to reach the final, I'm so happy, I can relax a little bit now,” said Cheshire.

“I had a really good training run, I was trying to stay relaxed and chilled through it all. The first run I just wanted to land a run and show what I could do.

“I missed out a trick in the first run just so that I could land and make finals potentially. It was a little bit scrappy, I put my hand on the floor and I missed a grab or so.

“The second run went really well, it was still a little bit scrappy but I've got three runs in finals to clean that up. I'm just happy to make it and show what I can do.”

Snowboarding

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Aimee Fuller pushed her luck but ran out of luck after two falls in qualifying for the first-ever Olympic big air competition. She finished 25th with only the top 12 progressing to the final.

“You do need a bit of luck sometimes,” she said. “It's a shame my luck was in the practice and not when it counted. I landed it in training. It's gutting not to land it in qualification.”

Bobsleigh

Ahead of tonight’s concluding runs in the men’s two man event, Britain’s women’s team had their final training runs at the Olympic Sliding Centre.

Pilot Mica McNeil and brakewoman Mica Moore look in promising form - with their times ranking them joint second and third fastest.

Still to come

In curling, both British rinks have a won three, lost three record, so it’s a big day for their ambitions of making the knockout stages. 

Kyle Smith’s men play Denmark (who have a 2-4 record) at 2.05pm (5.05am UK time) and Eve Muirhead’s rink take on Switzerland (who have won just once) at 8.05pm (11.05am) - and that’s a repeat of the bronze medal match in Sochi.

It was an encouraging first two runs for Great Britain’s two-man bobsleigh team, Brad Hall and Joel Fearon. 

Track time is vital ahead of the target four man event and pilot Hall will be delighted to sit seventh after the first two runs, just four tenths off a medal. The concluding runs begin at 8.15pm (11.15am).

Sportsbeat 2018