World champion and Team GB’s best gold medal hope Charlotte Bankes LOSES in quarter-final stage of snowboard-cross as American Lindsey Jacobellis, 36, completes fairytale comeback to triumph in the final
- Charlotte Bankes suffered a disappointing exit from the snowboard-cross
- The Team GB gold medal hopeful failed to qualify for the semi-final stages
- It sees Great Britain’s hopes for a third gold medal on the snow go on in Beijing
- Meanwhile, USA’s Lindsey Jacobellis won the final to become world champion
Great Britain’s hopes of winning a third gold medal on snow were dashed as favourite Charlotte Bankes was eliminated at the quarter-final stage of the women’s snowboard-cross in Beijing.
The 26-year-old recovered from a slow start to lead for much of the race but was pushed wide on a bend, allowing Tess Critchlow to take a lead she did not relinquish.
Australian Belle Brockhoff, whom Bankes had earlier edged out in her heat, also squeezed past the Briton to claim a semi-final place.
The top three were separated by just 0.09seconds but with only two progressing to the semi-finals, Bankes left to rue what might have been.
While Bankes failed to make the finals, there was a fairytale finish for American Lindsey Jacobellis.
The 36-year-old, who agonisingly threw away the gold medal at the 2006 Winter Olympics, roared to victory in the final to finally become world champion – 16 years on from that heartbreak in Torino.
Team GB star Charlotte Bankes has failed to qualify for the snowboard-cross semi-finals
Following his disappointing exit, Bankes told BBC: ‘Honestly at the moment I can’t explain (what happened). It’s not an easy day today, it’s windy. We knew it could happen here, we had that in November. It’s just a very dense field. I made a mistake in bank five. It’s not been an easy bank, we tried to find solutions.
‘Maybe I didn’t do a perfect bank. Tess manages to come inside and disturb the end of my bank. I pushed through to the outside and didn’t manage to find solutions. It’s a tight race and unfortunately it didn’t go my way.
‘I’ve been doing good training. I had a really good training day yesterday. This morning was going well too, I don’t know what happened.
‘I’ve had a great season so far. This is my worst result of the season and having that at the Olympics is tough. I’m just sorry for everybody that’s watching and all the team that around me. We’ve worked so hard to get this far. We’ve been riding really well here and to come away from it is tough.
Bankes recovered from a slow start to lead the race but was pushed wide on a bend
It is a disappointing end for the world champion and one of Team GB’s gold medal hopefuls
‘Everyone that has been supportive. This season hasn’t been easy, Covid has made a bit more difficult. Last month was tough just trying to get here.
‘I just wanted to give my best today and it didn’t go my way.’
Bankes had switched to represent Great Britain in 2018 having raced for France at her first two Olympics in Sochi and Pyeongchang, where she finished in seventh and 17th respectively.
Her struggle to fully recover from a pelvic injury she sustained in 2011 contributed to her decision to switch nationalities, her relationship with the French federation having deteriorated to the point she admitted she was seriously considering retirement.
Linking up with Great Britain afforded her a further opportunity, and within a year she had won a silver medal at the 2019 World Championships in Utah, behind Eva Samkova.
American Lindsey Jacobellis triumphed in the final, winning gold 16 years on from her agonising defeat in the 2006 Winter Olympics
Jacobellis, 36, becomes world champion 16 years on from her disappointment in Torino
Jacobellis stands atop the podium after winning gold in the snowboard-cross on Wednesday
Last year Bankes went one better, beating Michela Moioli and Samkova to claim the world title in Idre Fjall, Sweden, raising expectations for her first Games in GB colours.
Her status as favourite was strengthened by the absence of the Czech Republic’s Samkova, the Sochi gold medallist who has not recovered from ankle surgery in December.
Bankes was second-fastest in the individual ranking round, eclipsed only by Italy’s Moioli, and cruised through her eighth final in first place ahead of Brockhoff.
But Brockhoff got revenge in the quarter-final and ended Bankes’ medal hopes in the individual event.