Zoe Atkin fell, got back up, and grabbed a top-10, while Ollie Davies got his first taste of Olympic action
Atkin recovers from early wobbles to bank top-10 finish
Zoe Atkin’s Freeski Halfpipe Final got off to the worst possible start with two falls on her first two runs, but a brave third shot was enough to bank her a top-10 finish on her Olympic debut. Having qualified for the Finals in fourth place, hopes were high for Atkin going into the Finals, but a combination of challenging conditions and efforts to push the difficulty of her runs to challenge for medal positions saw her first two runs end in falls.
After speaking to her sister Izzy, an Olympic medallist in 2018, Zoe managed to hold her composure to put down a 73.25 on her third run and secure a ninth place finish in her first shot at the Olympic Winter Games.
Afterwards, Zoe said:
“On my first two runs I fell, so I definitely had some pressure on me on the third run.
“I wanted to put down a better run but unfortunately I just didn’t really have the speed for the tricks I wanted to complete.
“I opted for a safety run to put one down. I’ve got mixed feelings as I wasn’t able to do the run that I wanted to and be higher up in the ranks but I’m still in the Olympic final on my Olympic debut.
“I planned a harder run than my qualifciation one and as soon as I landed my second trick, I was going into my third and I knew I didn’t have the speed – I only went a foot out of the halfpipe. I did the best I could with the speed I had.
“I know [Izzy’s] gutted she wasn’t able to be here to watch me and support but I know she’s at home watching and supporting me from afar.
“I called her after my second run because I was a little teary – I was really nervous. She gave me some advice and told me that I got it. She’s here in spirit.
“I learned a lot. Putting one down under pressure and being able to get over the excitement of such a big competition.
“I’m hoping I can learn some bigger tricks and go bigger out of the halfpipe and get a lot smoother with my skiing and be able to put one down in 2026.”
Davies Debut ends at last-32 stage
Ollie Davies became Britain’s first ever male Olympic Ski-Cross competitor as the 24-year-old made his Olympic debut a year on from his stunning fourth place finish at the 2021 World Ski Championships. Finishing his Seeding Run in 31st position, Davies came fourth in his last-32 heat, with the ROC’s Igor Omelin and Canada’s Kevin Drury progressing to the Quarter Finals.
For Davies, the Olympic appearance marks exciting progress for an athlete who was only taking their first steps onto the World Cup circuit at the time of the PyeongChang Games in 2018.
After his elimination, Davies said:
“It’s pretty raw right now, I’m pretty gutted. I made a mistake at the start and I was playing catch-up from then onwards.
“It’s a track that’s not particularly easy to pass and I was too far off at the back from one mistake at the start, that’s it.
“I want to come back and do better. Same thing, more work, more grind and just as much racing to come back stronger.
“Right now I’m still processing what happened but hopefully I can reflect and come back.”
Header Image: Zoe Atkin during Freeski Halfpipe Finals at the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games on the 18th February 2022 at Genting Snow Park in Zhangjakou, China. Photo by Sam Mellish / Team GB.