Ashleigh Pittaway and Madi Rowlands lit up Team GB’s Youth Olympic Games today after winning gold and bronze during Day 8 of Lillehammer 2016.
Pittaway began the medal action in the women’s skeleton this morning, finishing almost a whole second clear of the field after her two runs, before Rowlands secured bronze in the ski slopestyle to take Team GB’s medal tally at the Games to three.
Rowlands’ medal follows up her success in the halfpipe event earlier in the Games when her gold medal was the first ever won by a Team GB athlete on snow in the history of the Olympic and Youth Olympic Games.
Pittaway, who shares the same birthday as Rowlands, came down in 1:50.23 – 0.96 seconds ahead of good friend Hannah Neise of Germany and 2.22 seconds clear of France’s Agathe Bessard, who took the bronze.
“It feels amazing to win the gold. I’m so happy and so proud to represent my country,” said Pittaway.
“When I first crossed the line I couldn’t believe it. I felt like I was standing next to me watching me finish – it was so surreal and just like a movie.
“Hannah [Neise] is one of my best friends and we’re really happy to be on the podium together. That’s been our dream together for four years.
“Conditions here have been good. I was very nervous at the top of my first run but felt strong coming down the second and once I exited turn seven I knew the run was good.
“My parents are here and they’ve been amazing and so supportive. It’s been a hard four years working towards this and a big struggle at times so I’m really happy to have won the race.”
Rowlands scored 67.20 and 67.80 in her two slopestyle runs, with the best counting towards the final standings, and stood on the podium with Russia’s Lana Prusakova who took the gold, while Lou Barin of France collected silver.
“I feel so happy at the moment because I didn’t expect it at all. I haven’t been on the podium that much in my career so it’s definitely that extra bit special," said Rowlands.
“To be honest I didn’t really know what position I was in at the top of the second run. I like to stay relaxed and don’t really get nervous. I guess that helps in this sport.
“My friends and family went crazy over me winning one medal so I have no idea what they are going to do over this second one.”
Competing after Rowlands on the slopestyle course was Team GB’s Cal Sandieson, who finished an agonising fourth in the men’s event with a best score of 81.00, five marks off the bronze medal position.
Despite being so close to the podium, Sandieson was pleased with the performance and especially after a late change in competition days and format with poor weather expected in Lillehammer tomorrow.
“I feel pretty happy with today. My plans altered with the event being brought forward a day but my runs ended up being better than training so I’m pleased,” said Sandieson.
“It was better having the two runs in better weather than three in poor conditions which would have been likely tomorrow.
“Lillehammer has been a really good experience and something I’ll definitely learn from.”
Elsewhere, Iain Innes completed his Lillehammer 2016 competition with a strong 20th place finish in the men’s slalom event, leaving him the Edinburgh man with two top 20 places this week.
And in the first day of the mixed doubles curling, both Ross Whyte and Callum Kinnear progressed through to the last 16 stage with their respective Chinese and Italian partners while Amy Bryce and Mili Smith bowed out of the first round of the straight knock-out competition.
Day 9 at Lillehammer 2016
Women’s Final, 09:00-12:00 GMT; Annabel Chaffey, Aimee Davey, Kelsea Purchall
Men’s Final, 12:00-16:00 GMT; George Johnston
Mixed Doubles, 08:00-09:30 GMT; Callum Kinnear/ITA v RUS/JAP
Mixed Doubles, 08:00;09:30 GMT; Ross Whyte/CHN v KOR/TUR