Australia can take at least one positive from its medal disappointment overnight after Olympic newcomer Jakara Anthony surprised the crowds with a superb performance to finish fourth in the women’s moguls.
Britt Cox, the world champion and one of Australia’s best medal prospects, was the second qualifier for the medal decider but scored 75.08, 0.27 points behind Anthony to finish fifth at the Pyeongchang Winter Games.
Gold was taken by France’s Perrine Laffont, scoring 78.65 as snow fell in -12 degree temperatures in Pyeongchang on Sunday, with Justine Dufour-Lapointe of Canada second and Kazakhstan’s Yulia Galysheva winning bronze.
Both Australians looked comfortable as they safely negotiated the elimination rounds, with Cox’s best run in the second of three finals when she scored 78.28.
Her third Olympics could be considered a disappointment after she recorded the most dominant individual season in history by an Australian winter sports athlete, in 2016/17.
Her form was questionable leading to the Games despite two World Cup wins from six events and progressing straight into the Pyeongchang finals with a top-10 finish in qualifying.
Her coach Steve Desovich pulled her out of a World Cup event in Canada to concentrate on strength and conditioning, which he thought was down.
Cox raised her arms after finishing her final run of the Games, possibly more in hope than triumph, but will leave her third straight Olympic campaign empty handed.
“My goal coming in today and coming into this whole week was to go for it … and I truly believe that I did that tonight,” she told the Seven Network.
“I went for it and pushed it a little too hard in the super final there and was scrappy and the girls that were on the podium and Jakara’s performance, they are very well deserving of their results.
“I went big and I skied fast and it didn’t pay off for me in the super final, but I achieved my goal of going for it and for that I’m proud of my performance.”
The 19-year-old Anthony, much less experienced than her star compatriot, was superb in her first Olympics.
She was through repechage as the third strongest competitor and was placed fourth and fifth through the first two finals.
“It’s a great result and I’m so happy,” she told Seven.
“A bit bittersweet just missing out on the podium, but I’m still stoked, it’s my best result yet.”
Snowboarding young gun blames wind in training crash
Snowboarder Tess Coady has confirmed wind was a factor in the Winter Olympics training crash which resulted in her ruptured ACL as Australian officials call for an investigation.
The 17-year-old rising star’s PyeongChang Games ended without competing when she fell heavily practising a jump in high winds before slopestyle qualification on Sunday.
“Well Olympics came to a screeching holt (sic) today for me,” Coady said on Instagram.
“(I) got picked up in the wind on the bottom jump in practice and my ACL was not a big fan!”
Australian chef de mission Ian Chesterman wants snowboarding’s governing body FIS (Federation Internationale de Ski) to look into whether the event should have been cancelled prior to training.
The men’s event had been completed earlier in the day but the women trained as conditions worsened at Bokwang Phoenix Park before qualification was cancelled and all competitors were progressed to the final.
“I think that is something that definitely needs to be reviewed,” he said.
“I think the international federation need to at some point review whether or not training should have taken place. They obviously cancelled the event.”