Jenny Jones waved emphatically to the scattered Brits in the Olympic crowd in Sochi on Sunday, after winning a historic bronze medal in the women’s slopestyle final, according to the AP.
She is the first olympian from Britain to win a medal in snow sports, which is a generally American-dominated. The 33-year-old absolutely killed it on Sochi’s Rosa Khutor Extreme Park, claiming what ultimately amounted to a quarter of a point higher than fourth place.
”It feels incredible, absolutely incredible,” Jones said. ”I’m just in a moment right now.”
Perhaps the Jenny Jones’ inspirational win can help repair the somewhat tarnished reputation that the British have on the snow. In the 2002 games in Salt Lake City, skier Alain Baxter won a bronze for Britain, but that was later stripped in shame due to a failed drug test.
There was also the oddball performance in 1988 of Eddie ”The Eagle” Edwards who finished last in two ski-jumping events, all while sporting weird glasses and even weirder form. These dead-last runs and quirks endeared “The Eagle” to some, however, he also inspired the International Olympic Committee to write some new qualifying guidelines.
Jenny Jones got her start, not on snow, but on a synthetic substitute that was covering a hill in her hometown of Bristol, west of London. The teenager then went on to work as a housekeeper at a ski resort so that she could be closer to snow and have more time to learn the sport. There weren’t any really good snowboarders to learn from in Britain until 1999.
She won her first international title in snowboarding in 1999, then a decade later claimed slopestyle gold at the X games.
”When I first started there wasn’t a lot of us,” she said of her humble beginnings. ”I would travel a lot with girls from other nationalities, other parts of Europe. There’s been an increase of British riders.”
Jones had a shaky start, scoring 73.00 to place fifth after the first round, just 4.25 points off the podium places, according to BBC. After an impressive second run she won the bronze when the final competitor, Austrian medal prospect Anna Gasser, fell.
“It feels amazing,” added Jones. “I cannot believe it, I just can’t believe it. I knew I was going to drop [from first place] but I didn’t know how far. I am just so happy.
“It was so difficult waiting. I thought I did my best run and landed it as best as I could.”
Britain is not great on snow, but they have plenty to brag about on ice, where 22 medals had been won before Sochi in events such as figure skating, curling, skeleton, bobsleigh and, even ice hockey in much earlier games.
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