Bex Sinclair 'gutted' after Olympic dream ends

NATHAN BURDON
Last updated 08:22 13/02/2014
Bex Sinclair
Getty Images
OVER AND OUT: New Zealand's Bex Sinclair competes in the women's snowboard halfpipe qualifying. Sinclair finished 11th in her heat to miss the semifinals.

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A gutted Bex Sinclair was today struggling to understand what had happened after two falls in qualifying ended her Olympic snowboard dream.

The 22-year-old crashed early in her first run at the Sochi Winter Olympics halfpipe course, but she looked more comfortable in her second run before falling again.

A best score of 48.25 was only good enough for 11th in her heat, with the top three going directly into the final and the next six moving into a semifinal.

Snow Sport NZ park and pipe coach Tom Willmott said the result was extremely disappointing.

"We don't have any excuses, it just came down to pilot error," he said.

"We are gutted."

Sinclair had struggled in training and opted for a back-up run which she had nailed during her preparation and been successful with in previous competitions.

Dropping in for the first time, Bex crashed on her "crippler" trick and was unable to complete the run. Her initial score of 32.25 left her in 13th place when all competitors had completed their first runs.

With the pressure on to improve her score to within the top nine, Sinclair re-gathered herself and pushed hard for the big moves.

All went well for the first three hits before she once again crashed, this time on the backside 540.

Sinclair finished her run, taking her score to 48.25 but by the end of the heat her 11th place was not enough to progress.

"Bex is capable of so much more and it's such a shame with all she's been through in the past four years, coming back from injury and getting through her rehab," Willmott said.

Willmott said the conditions for the halfpipe, which has been heavily criticised in the leadup to the men's and women's snowboard competitions, couldn't be faulted.

Designed and maintained by Wanaka-based company Development Snowparks, the pipe was in tremendous shape given the warm conditions which saw spectators dressed in t-shirts as they took in the action.

Willmott said Sinclair was upset with her performance.

"She'll bounce back, she's a very tough cookie but she's very disappointed at the moment," he said.

Sinclair finished 21st at the Vancouver Olympics four years ago and had been targeting a top-eight finish in Sochi.

The event was won by United States boarder Kaitlyn Farrington, with Australian star Torah Bright second and world No 1 Kelly Clark, from the US, third.

The New Zealand Olympic Team will see Jossi and Beau-James Wells in competition on the freeski slopestyle course tonight and Katharine Eustace in day one of women's skeleton.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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