After finishing a very respectable fifth four years ago in Sochi, it was hoped that this time around Britain’s James ‘Woodsy’ Woods could repeat the feat of Isabel Atkin winning bronze and get himself an Olympic medal. And for so much of the day’s men’s ski slopestyle contest in Pyeongchang, from qualifaction right through to finals, it really did look like this might be his year. Sport though, as we all know, can be extremely cruel.
Woodsy qualified for the final in eighth place after initially being in third following the first round of qualifying. His superb 90.20, which he stomped down early doors, meant he’d already got qualification well in the bag going into the second set of quali runs.
This gave Woodsy the freedom to experiment a bit, and test how the judges were marking certain tricks and sections. A worrying moment occurred when he fell on his second quali run but, much to the relief of Team GB supporters, he dusted himself down and was fine to carry on. His British teammate Tyler Harding suffered a couple of falls in qualifying and was unable to make it into the final stages; finishing 29th.
“Heartbreak for Woodsy struck late on in the contest”
After falling at the bottom lander on his first of three final runs, Woodsy delivered something special on his second go and picked up a score of 91.00 for his efforts. His switch triple cork 1440 Octo grab off the last kicker, in particular, was spectular. The run briefly put him in the silver medal position before Alex Beaulieu-Marchand of Canada came along and nudged him down to bronze.
Heartbreak for Woodsy struck late on in the contest when American skier Nick Goepper scored a 93.60, went into silver medal position, and, in doing so, knocked Woodsy off the podium (who had been unable to top his 91.00 on his third attempt after missing his 450 on the down rail).
Oystein Braaten of Norway claimed the gold medal with an epic run that scored 95.00. He was joined on the podium by Goepper of the United States (score – 93.60), and Beaulieu-Marchland of Canada (score – 92.40); who took silver and bronze respectively. Goepper won bronze at Sochi, so he’ll no doubt be delighted to have gone one step further this time around.
1) Oystein Braaten (NOR) – 95.00
2) Nick Goepper (USA) – 93.60
3) Alex Beaulieu-Marchand (CAN) – 92.40
4) James Woods (GBR) – 91.00
5) Teal Harle (CAN) – 90.00
6) Evan Mceachran (CAN) – 89.40
7) Andri Ragettli (SUI) – 85.80
8) Ferdinand Dahl (NOR) – 76.40
9) Elias Ambuehl (SUI) – 73.20
10) Jonas Hunziker (SUI) – 66.20
11) Oscar Wester (SWE) – 62.00
12) Gus Kenworthy (USA) – 35.00