By Neil Leverett
- Izzy Atkin claims bronze in the Women’s ski slopestyle to earn GB’s second medal of the Games
- First British athlete to medal on skis in history; Katie Summerhayes finishes in seventh
- XXIII Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea run until February 25
PYEONGCHANG, SOUTH KOREA – Great Britain’s Izzy Atkin wins bronze in the Women’s ski slopestyle final at Phoenix Snow Park to give Team GB their second medal of the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea.
|CLICK TO BUY TEAM GB GEAR via Britwatch Sports|
Atkin makes GB history on skis
Great Britain’s Isabel Atkin made British sporting history on Saturday, claiming bronze in the Women’s ski slopestyle final at Phoenix Park in PyeongChang.
The Utah-born 19 year-old laid down three tidy runs in the final – with her third shot at the mammoth course the best – to finish on the podium behind the Swiss duo of Sarah Hoefflin and Mathilde Gremaud with Hoefflin scoring 91.20 on her final run.
Atkin’s third-placed finish follows on from Dom Parsons’ bronze in the Men’s skeleton on Friday, with three chances of completing a remarkable ‘Super Saturday’ for GB later on Saturday, with Lizzy Yarnold and Laura Deas looking for skeleton medals in their final two runs of four, with Elise Christie once again looking to end her Olympic hoodoo in the 1500m short-track speed skating.
Uncertain start for Atkin; Summerhayes show promise
As the Briton held on to finish on the podium, Atkin began her competition in rather more uncertain fashion after tumbling on the rail section on the upper part of the course, with the teenager visibly dejected and seemingly lacking belief.
Indeed it was team-mate Katie Summerhayes who was showing the greater promise with a less difficult but cleaner first run down the course.
As she sat in sixth before the second run, a number of the favourites for silverware had fallen by the wayside on the tough proving grounds of the slopes and flats of the spectacular course.
With Atkin, the reigning World Championship bronze medalist from Sierra Nevada last year in danger of missing out on the final however, the US-born skier then laid down a far superior run including big air and grabs on the penultimate kicker, with clean lands on all three jumps.
Jumping up to fourth place in qualifying for the final, Atkin was them joined by Summerhayes in making the final 12 competitors for the medals – with the latter still skiing through the pain barrier of her ankle injury sustained days before competition.
Classy Briton shows final consistency
With the business end of proceedings arriving, Atkin was showing signs of growing in confidence but it was again Summerhayes who was higher in the standing after the first of three runs in the final – with both Brits sitting in fourth and fifth respectively.
As the Sheffield athlete began to struggle to throw her best tricks together however, Atkin threw down the gauntlet to the field with her second successive clean run with an elevated difficulty tariff. With just one run to go, it was Atkin who could taste silverware.
After American Maggie Voisin – who had failed to put down a single run of her previous four in the day – then put down a 81+ score, Atkin was then again forced to improve on her own score to return to the medals.
Putting together a similar but cleaner final run, Atkin landed her best final jump of the day to record an 84.60 and leapfrog Voisin back into third.
A nervous wait at the foot of the hill then awaited with three ladies left that could deny Atkin a medal. As Norwegian duo Johanne Killi reverted on her final landing at the bottom of the course and Tiril Sjaastad Christiansen put a hand down on the second kicker, only Sweden’s Emma Dahlstrom stood between the Briton and bronze.
Dahlstrom failed to land on the first jump however – the Swede crashing to the ground – leading to celebrations from a large Team GB contingent at the foot of the course.
Atkin’s bronze is Great Britain’s first Winter Olympic medal on skis in history and only the second on snow after Jenny Jones‘ third-placed finish in snowboard slopestyle four years ago in Sochi.
Having taken two medals in as many days, more silverware could be to come at Phoenix Park with James Woods going in the Men’s event on Sunday.
GB’s James Woods goes in the Men’s ski slopestyle competition on Sunday morning starting at 1am UK time at Phoenix Snow Park in Pyeongchang.
|CLICK TO BUILD YOUR OWN DESTINATIONS WORLDWIDE via Britwatch Sports|
|Follow Britwatch - Sport in General, Brits in Particular!|
|Subscribe to Britwatch Sports|