Sheffield’s James Woods was left a little battered but with pride very much intact after his Winter Olympics ended with a fifth place finish
But Woods had no complaints after claiming fifth behind his ‘four best mates’ – in the ski slopestyle final at Rosa Khutor.
And it soon became clear that he and coach Pat Sharples had been playing down the hip injury he picked up in training last week – which he later claimed would have forced him to withdraw from any other competition.
Joss Christensen took gold ahead of American teammates Gus Kenworthy and Nick Goepper while Woods, 22, recorded runs of 86.60 and 78.40, well down on his personal best, and was pipped to fourth by Norway’s Andreas Haatveit.
It means Great Britain’s best record in the four slopestyle events across ski and snowboarding reads sixth, third, seventh and fifth – unprecedented success on snow for Team GB at the Winter Olympics.
“It’s always a little disappointing when you can’t perform at your best, but I’m very proud to be here in such an immense final,” said Woods.
“Any other occasion I wouldn’t be near my skis so I cannot be unhappy with this – it’s the world stage. Fifth in the Olympics, with four of my best mates in front of me, it is great.
“There were certainly a couple of times where I thought ‘I’m not sure I can carry on’. I certainly didn’t bring my best game to the table but I’m incredibly proud to be here.”
Meanwhile Shelley Rudman admitted she is finally starting to master the Olympic skeleton track – but insists it could be all too late.
The reigning world champion has been working hard to learn the highly-technical track at the Sanki Sliding Center, conceding it was taking time to learn the vagaries of its complex twists and unusual uphill sections.
She lies 11th after two runs of the women’s skeleton, meaning her hopes of a second Olympic medal, following a silver eight years ago in Turin, now appear slim.
After two runs the 32-year-old is 1.90 seconds behind leader and teammate Lizzy Yarnold, who looks well placed to win Britain’s first Olympic gold medal of the Games later today (Friday).
However, Rudman insists pushing into the top ten will still be a great return for a third Olympic campaign.
“It’s not a bad day and hopefully there is more to come. I’m just really enjoying the experience and being part of the Olympics again,” she said.
“I hope I can move up a bit after I got my second run more to how I want it to be, but if I don’t, I still have to be happy with what I have done.
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