Winter Olympics 2014: Freestyle skier Katie Summerhayes left in tears but curlers roar back into form
Tuesday 11 February 2014
A day of British tears and anger was rescued by the curlers with David Murdoch's men snatching a dramatic final-end victory over Germany and Eve Muirhead's rink crushing the Americans in an emphatic return to form.
It put the curlers back on track after both rinks lost on the opening day of the competition, but there will be no opportunity for Katie Summerhayes to salvage something from her Olympic debut.
The 18-year-old freestyle skier from Sheffield raised hopes of a second British medal when she qualified third for the final of the slopestyle event. Summerhayes recovered from a career-threatening knee injury which required two operations, the last only nine months ago, to rush back to fitness and make the Games.
This was only her third event of the season but a World Cup silver in her second had demonstrated her potential and she produced her best run since the injury to reach the final here. That proved the high point. She fell on her first run and then two minor mistakes, touching the ground with her hands after two of her three jumps, left her seventh and in tears. "I'm gutted, I'm really gutted," she said after scoring 70.60 in her second run. Her two qualifying runs were worth 81.40 and 84.
The gold went to Dara Howell of Canada, who produced a stunning run of jumps and tricks to score 94.20. Her compatriot Yuki Tsubota suffered a suspected fractured jaw after falling in the final.
After her opening-day defeat at the hands of the Swedes, Muirhead led her rink to a timely win over the United States and set an Olympic record in the process. On the fourth end Britain won seven points – the most for one end in Olympic history – and it was all over after six ends as the Americans conceded with Britain 12-3 ahead.
Eve Muirhead’s curlers set an Olympic record (PA)
Murdoch's rink won one and lost one in a busy opening day and were on the verge of successive defeats against Germany. They twice had to come from behind before winning on the final end 7-6. "We are obviously pretty pumped up after winning," said Murdoch. "We can't have a lackadaisical start. We need to come out firing a lot quicker."
The angriest man in Sochi may well have been Andrew Musgrave. The Scot, who has become a cult figure in Norway after winning their national championships, was furious after being eliminated in the cross-country sprint.
It is the best performance by a Briton in cross-country skiing, held at the dramatic Laura Centre perched on the top of a mountain, but Musgrave was left livid after fading over the closing stages of the tough 1,800m course.
"I skied terribly," said Musgrave, who lives in Norway. "On a good day I should be able to beat anyone in the world on a course like this, but today I just didn't have it. I had a crap day. It just sucks."
Ahead of the start of the skeleton tomorrow, Lizzie Yarnold recorded the fastest times in both practice runs, underlining her standing as favourite to win Britain's first gold medal of the Games.
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