Maélle Ricker's golden dreams in Sochi came to a crashing halt on Sunday (Feb. 16).
Competing in the snowboard cross quarterfinal, the Squamish resident and 2010 gold medallist in the discipline fell on a tight curve and failed to advance to the next round of competition. She finished 21st overall for the event.
She admitted that a compound arm fracture she suffered three weeks before the Olympics did impact her performance.
“I (didn’t) have my usual pull out of the gate,” Ricker told Postmedia News. “It just kind of all fell apart there in the quarterfinal. My start wasn’t anything to write home about and it just got worse and worse as I went down the course. Usually I’m able to refocus and get back on point, especially in pressure situations. I can usually pull up my socks and dig deep, but that was really not the case today.”
Ricker said it was a disappointing way to conclude her competitive experience in Sochi.
“I'm a little bit in shock,” she said. “It’s something that’s going to replay in my head for years to come. I’m not going to be able to shake this one off very easily.”
She did post the fourth fastest time during the qualifying rounds earlier on Sunday but what might soften the sting for Ricker is the fact that her teammate Dominique Maltais finished with the silver medal. Four years ago it was Maltais who crashed and was left disappointed.
“It was good revenge for Vancouver,” Maltais said. “It had been a big stress on my shoulders over the past four years. I was on a mission.”
Eva Samkova of the Czech Republic won the gold, with Chloe Trespeuch from France taking home the bronze.
In the men’s snowboard cross event on Tuesday (Feb. 18), Squamish’s Rob Fagan was ousted in the first round and tied for 25th. Kevin Hill of Vernon reached the small final and wound up in eighth place, while Chris Robanske of Calgary crashed out in the quarterfinals and finished 17th. Jake Holden of Caledon, Ont., also tied for 25th.
Squamish residents Roz Groenewoud and Keltie Hansen are slated to compete in the women’s ski halfpipe today (Thursday, Feb. 20).