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Sochi 2014: First ever GB medal - Monday, February 10, 2014

Sochi 2014: First ever GB medal

Jenny Jones will go down in the record books as the first British athlete to win a medal on snow in 90 years of the Winter Olympics.

Jones, 33, was the oldest competitor in the sport of slope style snowboarding that is making its debut at these Olympics and has become a breakout hit with its photogenic, gravity-defying tricks on rails and jumps. Jenny got the bug on the Churchill dry ski slope in Bristol at 16 before heading for the French resort of Tignes in her gap year to work as a chalet maid two years later. She quit her chalet job after a few weeks and entered the Junior Snowboard Championships and won; that is when the competing began. 

It was a long journey  to the Olympics for Miss Jones. Early on, she supported herself through stints in a doughnut shop, a bar and a cardboard factory until consistent success brought full-time sponsorship and she has experienced plenty of lows including a serious back injury and ligament damage that stopped her winning the world series. A crash in training in Austria before Christmas briefly put her participation at the Olympics in doubt. 

Having crept into the final by the skin of her teeth through the repechage, Jones scored 87.25 on her second run in the final to win bronze. "All that waiting. I was only the second person to drop and there were so many more girls to come," she said after her bronze was confirmed, just 0.25 points ahead of the fourth placed rider.

"When the last girl went and I realised she had messed the rail a bit, it was just like 'Oh my goodness. I am on the podium'." Previously, the best British finish had been Gina Hathorn's fourth place in the slalom in Grenoble in 1968.  

 

 

By Owen Gibson - The Guardian 

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