Competing at an international elite level can be brutal as Belle Brockhoff discovered today. With only four competitors in the Big Final, the competition set up means one of the four misses out on the podium.
She had a huge competition day that was inspiring to watch. After finishing second in her 1/8 final, Brockhoff came from nowhere to also finish second in her quarter-final heat, then making the Big Final only to miss out on the win by just .01 of a second after trailing her three competitors for most of the race.
While fourth place in the Olympics snowboard cross is an amazing achievement, triple Olympian Belle Brockhoff was anything but happy.
She was unable to make up ground after a tumultuous day of competition when Brockhoff repeatedly avoided elimination and disaster.
Despite fourth being her best finish in her three Games appearances, she wasn’t satisfied.
“You’re the loser of the big final,” Brockhoff said. “You miss the podium by this much.”
Brockhoff, who also finished fourth at the world championships, had to overcome a training crash where she hit her head and a poor seeding run earlier on Wednesday, where she sat 18th.
“That was my worst time-trial result ever in the sport, even when I first started I had a better time-trial result so I really had to dig deep and put a lot of fight into it and that’s what I did so I was happy to be in the final, even if it was fourth place,” she said.
“I hate that place so much but I will take it.”
American Lindsey Jacobellis won the gold medal – her country’s first at the Beijing Games – ahead of Chloe Trespeuch of France, with Meryeta Odine of Canada taking the bronze.
Until Wednesday, Jacobellis was best known for taking a massive lead into the final jump at the 2006 Turin Games.
She pulled on her board in a showboat move as she went over the crest, then fell and had to settle for silver.
This time, the four-time world champion went hard all the way to the line to finally win gold.
There was more drama in Brockhoff’s semi-final when Julia Pereira de Sousa of France, the 2018 Olympic silver medallist, crashed in front of her.
Brockhoff narrowly avoided being taken down as well and finished second to qualifying for the medal decider, which was missing defending Olympic champion Italian Michela Moiola and reigning world champion Charlotte Banks of Great Britain who had been eliminated.
Fellow Australian Josie Baff was eliminated when she took third in a separate 1/8 final heat.
Competing at her first Olympics, Baff was 14th in the first qualifying round.
“It was definitely a little bit disappointing,” the 19-year-old said.
“I was riding really well in training and looking forward to putting that into practice and I really felt today was the day when things were going to work for me but unfortunately not.”
Brockhoff and PyeongChang silver medallist Jarryd Hughes are the reigning world champions in the mixed team event, which will make its Olympic debut in Beijing.