Australia’s Kailani Craine has made a sensational Olympic Winter Games debut by progressing to the medal program of the women’s figure skating singles in Pyeongchang.
The 19-year-old Craine, performing to the song Dream a Little Dream of Me, scored 56.77 in Wednesday’s short program at the Gangneung Ice Arena to move through to the free skating component of the event where the medals will be decided.
She needed to finish inside the top 24 and as the 13th skater of 30 on the ice she knew she had advanced once her score was posted, as it placed her in provisional second position at the time.
Craine eventually qualified in 16h position.
“I cannot believe it. I am really proud of myself,” Craine told Channel Seven.
“That was my goal coming in. When I looked up and saw the score, I was in second. After I finished, I was so happy.
“The feelings cannot describe how happy I was. I was crying before.”
The Newcastle-born Craine, who is based in Los Angeles for part of the year, was 24th at last year’s world championships in Helsinki.
The free skate program will be contested on Friday.
— David Morris OLY (@Aerialskier) February 21, 2018
Meanwhile Australian team-mate Greta Small, competing in her second Olympics, finished 20th out of 33 skiers in the women’s downhill, stopping the clock in one minute and 42.07 seconds.
Small, who was competing with the flu in the downhill, was 31st in the super-G earlier in the alpine skiing program.
Sofia Goggia of Italy won gold, with US veteran Lindsey Vonn taking the bronze medal in what is likely her final Olympic downhill.
“I wish I could keep going. I have so much fun. I love what I do,” Vonn said.
“My body just can’t, probably can’t, take another four years.”
Goggia finished in a time of 1:39.22 to hold off Norway’s Ragnhild Mowinckel by 0.09. Vonn finished 0.47 seconds behind Goggia.
At 33, Vonn becomes the oldest female medallist in alpine skiing at the Winter Games.
Vonn captured the downhill gold at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, but did not get a chance to defend her title four years later when she sat out the Sochi Games after tearing ligaments in her right knee.
Meanwhile, Australia’s Anton Grimus finished fourth in his heat in the men’s ski cross but failed to advance to the quarter-finals.