Winter Olympics: Great Britain’s Zoe Atkin and Gus Kenworthy advance to freeski halfpipe final

Hosts: Beijing, China Appointment: February 4-20
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Freestyle skiers Zoe Atkin and Gus Kenworthy qualified for the halfpipe finals in different ways at the Beijing Winter Olympics.

Atkin qualified in fourth place for Friday’s women’s final, raising hopes of a first medal for Team GB.

But his teammate Kenworthy qualified for the men’s final, finishing 12th and last in qualifying.

Making her Olympic debut, 19-year-old Atkin defied her nerves to post a best time of 86.75.

“Sometimes qualifying can be even more nerve-wracking than finals, so I just wanted to put one on,” the world bronze medalist told BBC Sport.

“After I landed my first run I was like ‘phew, the pressure is total’ so I put some extra stuff in there that I hadn’t trained just to try and I’m really happy with it. have passed to make the finals.

“It’s so much fun – the course is perfect and I’m having so much fun skiing it. It was so fast today, I just got out of the halfpipe and I feel like I’m flying. I’m having a great time. moment .

“I have a few tricks I might put together tomorrow, but you’ll have to watch and see!”

Atkin is the younger sister of Izzy Atkin, who four years ago in Pyeongchang won the British team’s first Olympic medal on skis.

Chinese favorite Eileen Gu dominated the qualification with a best time of 95.50 as she seeks her third medal of the Games in what is her strongest event.

In men’s qualifying, Kenworthy – who switched allegiance from the USA to Team GB for his final Olympics – crashed on his first run, a score of 8.50 leaving him all to do in his second.

He scored a much improved second time of 70.75 but had to wait nervously until the end with only the top 12 advancing to Saturday’s final.

“I don’t think I’ve ever been so stressed,” Kenworthy told BBC Sport.

“I could have done so much more. In my first race I crashed and then I really didn’t want to fall back so I decided to be a bit more conservative with my [second] Course. Unfortunately, I didn’t write it as cleanly as I could have and the judges were rightly pretty hard on me, but it wasn’t the position I wanted to be in.

“I’m very grateful to have reached the final, and the final is a new day.”

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