Medal agony for Jossi Wells at Sochi

BEN STANLEY
Last updated 07:38 19/02/2014
Jossi Wells
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TOP-FIVE: Jossi Wells in action during qualifying for the men's ski halfpipe final.

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It was a case of very close, but no Russian cigar for Jossi Wells in Sochi this morning.

Wells finished fourth in the final of the first-ever men's freeski halfpipe in Sochi, just missing out becoming New Zealand's first Winter Olympics medalist since Annelise Coberger in 1992.

In a final that took place in heavy sleet and snow at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park, Wells nailed an stunning 85.60 on his first run, and 78.40 on his second - but was pipped for a podium finish thanks to a strong final attempt by Canadian Mike Riddle, who would take bronze.

Despite missing out on a medal, Wells' fourth place finish is New Zealand's best result at the Winter Olympics since Coberger in Albertville; a Games that also saw fourth place finishes for the Kiwi 5000m speed skating relay team, and short track speed skater Mike McMillen.

Wells' first run featured an impressive series of jumps ranging from a double 1200 to an impressive switch 900, and saw him heading into the final run in bronze medal position.

His second run was similarly strong - but included one slightly messy landing that cost him on his final score.

American David Wise, the current world number one and FIS world champion, won gold, while Frenchman Kevin Rolland claimed silver.

Wells' near-historic finish was backed up by impressive showings by his fellow Kiwis in the final.

Brother Beau-James Wells finished sixth while Wanaka's Lyndon Sheehan ended in ninth.

Beau-James Wells' first run was a solid, though unspectacular, 62.00, while his stylish second run scored him an impressive 80.00 - which would eventually seal his final placing.

Australian-born Sheehan scored 55.20 on his first run, before a strong final attempt that scored a creditable 72.60.

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