11 February 2014Winter Olympics 2014: Katie Summerhayes recovers from first run fall to finish seventh in ski slopestyle final
Katie Summerhayes was reduced to tears after her hopes of a ski slopestyle medal disappeared with two below-par runs in yesterday’s final at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park.
The 18-year-old from Sheffield had been strongly fancied to follow team-mate Jenny Jones onto the podium after placing second at her last World Cup competition three weeks ago, and she underlined her medal credentials when she finished third in yesterday’s qualifying round.
But, after falling on her first run in the final, the teenager put a hand down to steady herself on two of her landings on her second run, costing her valuable points. Her score of 70.60 left her down in seventh place and in a state of tearful distress.
"I'm gutted,” she said. "It happens. That's our sport and people fall, but I'm just gutted.”
Victory went to 19-year-old Canadian Darah Howell, the overall World Cup leader, whose brilliant first run was rewarded with a huge score of 94.20. It gave her such a commanding advantage that she was celebrating gold with her coach before the second runs even began.
American Devin Logan took silver with a score of 85.40, just 0.40 ahead of Canadian bronze medallist Kim Lamarre.
A reminder of how dangerous slopestyle can be came on the second run when the rider before Summerhayes on the startlist, Canada’s Yuki Tsubota, suffered an ugly fall on the final jump and left the mountain on a stretcher. She was later treated for a suspected broken jaw.
Her crash meant there was a five-minute delay before Summerhayes could drop in for her second run but she refused to blame the hiatus for her subsequent mistakes.
“I did all the run I wanted to do but I put my hands down twice on two of the landings and that's a big thing between winning and losing,” she said. “It just needed to be cleaner. It's my fault."
Just making it to Sochi was a considerable achievement for Summerhayes, who had to undergo a second major operation to reconstruct her anterior cruciate ligament in April and only returned to competition action a month ago after a lengthy rehabilitation.
“Everyone who told me I couldn’t do it, I just proved them wrong. So many people along the way said it would be tough to make it, but I’m here.”
Fellow Sheffield athlete James Woods now carries Britain’s medal hopes in tomorrow’s men’s ski slopestyle competition. He suffered a blow when he injured his hip in training on Friday but his coach, Pat Sharples, confirmed he would be fit enough to compete.