Australian skeleton Jackie Narracott is right about medal chances as the shock star is already making history at the Winter Olympics.
Australia have a very real opportunity to win medals at the Beijing Olympics in a stacked day of action on Saturday.
Australian Jaclyn Narracott posted the fastest time in women’s skeleton and may be just two points away from winning the gold medal when the event resumes on Saturday night.
Australian mixed team snowboard cross stars including Belle Brockhoff were also due to battle for a podium spot, but the event was a complete disaster for Australia with both Australian teams crashing out in the quarter-finals.
There has also been immense drama away from the track with 15-year-old Russian figure skating superstar Kamila Valieva failing a drug test.
“Wow”: an Australian star breaks a record
Jaclyn Narracott promises to be a good chance for a skeleton medal since she was the first on the track.
The Aussie, who is looking to become our first ever sliding medalist, was the first slider to break under 1:02:00 and set a new track record in a remarkable performance.
But it didn’t last long as Germany’s Hannah Neise immediately broke the record.
That leaves Narracott 0.14 seconds behind Neise with the next run for the medal.
Germany’s Tina Hermann couldn’t get past Narracott and is 0.48 down in third, when it looks like Narracott will be heading into the final run in second, except for something unbelievable.
‘Disaster’ as two Australian teams collapse, star taken to hospital
Australian champion Belle Brockhoff has been swept away from the Genting Snow Park venue after taking a hard fall during the mixed team snowboard cross event.
It was a nightmarish quarter-final for Australia as both Australian teams crashed to miss out on a place in the semi-finals. No Australian team finished the race.
Australian Josie Baff also suffered a tough crash but made it to the bottom of the race and was in good spirits when she was interviewed by Channel 7 after the race.
However, the news was much more serious for Brockhoff, who was carried down the hill while lying on a stretcher.
The event had to be delayed as Brockhoff received medical attention before being loaded onto the back of the stretcher.
“It’s a disaster,” Channel 7 commentator Dave Culbert said as Brockhoff crashed before it became apparent she was in distress.
Australian Olympic legend Lydia Lassila said in a comment for Seven: “She will be absolutely devastated.”
Brockhoff took a fall when she took off from a big jump and landed on the back of a competitor’s board.
The Australian Olympic Committee released a brief statement on social media on Saturday afternoon.
“Belle Brockhoff appears to be doing well,” the team posted on Twitter.
“Belle was taken to hospital for imaging after complaining of a sore neck. We should hear more in the next hour.
The Aus Olympic Team updated and said “Brockhoff’s CT and MRI clear, Belle is out of the collar and heading back to the Athletes’ Village soon.”
Brockhoff’s partner Cameron Bolton conveyed his support when interviewed after the event by Channel 7.
“First of all, I hope she’s okay,” he said.
“I saw her go by and heard from the team that she was fine. Just as a precaution. They think everyone is good. Let’s hope that’s the case.
He was also bitterly disappointed with the results of the snowboard cross team in Beijing.
“As a result, for sure it’s disappointing. Really there were no limits today for us. We could have been way up there and really in contention. It’s really disappointing.
“It’s one of those things, isn’t it. To be honest, I don’t think the Olympics could have been much worse for the Australian Border Crossing Team.
“Belle fought hard for fourth place. Everything else that could have gone wrong went wrong.
He went on to say, “Coming here and leaving with next to nothing is tough.”
Star rages on freak teen bombshell
Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva has an unlikely defender: 2018 U.S. bronze medalist Adam Rippon.
In a Twitter thread, Rippon took aim at the Russian Federation and the International Olympic Committee for putting 15-year-old Valieva in a bad spot and failing to properly punish Russia for past doping violations.
Olympic testers confirmed she failed a drug test in December, and the IOC is now appealing Russia’s decision to allow her to continue competing in Beijing.
Valieva tested positive for a banned substance after leading Russia (which competes as the Russian Olympic Committee) to gold in the team event.
The medal ceremony has therefore been postponed and Valieva’s status for the individual event, in which she is a big favourite, is uncertain.
“The whole situation is heartbreaking,” Rippon wrote.
“This girl is only 15 years old. She is underage. The adults around her have completely disappointed her. They put her in this horrible situation and should be punished.
“The IOC’s ban on Russia’s participation in the Olympics was NOT strict enough. I believe that ROC athletes do what they are told in order to please their coaches and their federation. I blame those responsible. Flops.
Valieva’s positive test was on Christmas Day for trimetazidine, a drug used by heart patients that improves blood circulation and endurance. The ROC backed her up, saying the failed test should not apply as it was outside the Olympics.
The situation is further complicated by Valieva’s age. She is considered by the World Anti-Doping Agency to be a “protected person”, meaning she could avoid suspension by being deemed too young to know what substances she was given.
Valieva was allowed to train after Russian authorities appealed her suspension. The case will be heard by the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Beijing.
A positive test is a positive test,” Rippon wrote.
“To be tested negative now does not negate the fact that there were performance-enhancing drugs involved in the process. It’s a fucking shame. It doesn’t have to come to that. SHE IS A CHILD. They put his athletic performance ahead of his health and well-being. Fuck them. They ruined this Olympic experience for HER and for EVERYONE here.
“The ROC has failed its athletes miserably and embarrassed itself on the world stage AGAIN AGAIN. My heart breaks for the Russian athletes competing in Beijing who will see everything they do at these Olympics called into question.
Valieva holds nine world records and became the first woman to land a quad jump at the Olympics on Monday.
The women’s figure skating event begins Wednesday (AEDT) with the short program and ends Thursday (AEDT) with the free skate.
— New York Post
‘Should be stopped’: World explodes over halfpipe scandal
There was an uproar in the thrilling men’s halfpipe final before Japanese superstar Ayumu Hirano walked away with the gold medal – ahead of Australian silver medalist Scotty James.
Hirano pulled off something special in his second run, completing a spectacular triple cork 1440 to become the first person to land the trick at the Olympics. But a judge only gave him a score of 89, bringing his overall score for the second round down to 91.75 and leaving him in second place, behind James heading into the final races of the event.
Viewers couldn’t believe the assessment and American snowboarding legend Todd Richards was absolutely scathing in his analysis of how Hirano was being treated.
“Ahhh what? What? Is there an error? There’s no way, there’s no way. A 91.75? he said in a commentary for NBC. “As far as I’m concerned, the judges just ruined all their credibility.
“I’ve been doing this for so long, so long, I know what a good race looks like. I know the ingredients of a winning race. I know when I’ve seen the best run ever on a halfpipe.
“Try to tell me where you deduce from this race. It’s amazing that this is happening. It’s a travesty of being completely honest with yourself.
“I’m angry right now.
“Someone call the authorities, there’s been a robbery.”
Luckily for Hirano, the controversial call didn’t cost him. He produced another breathtaking run on his third trip to the pipe and this time the judges scored him a 96. That was enough for him to win gold.