Nicholls does himself and snowboarding proud in Sochi final

Great Britain's Jamie Nicholls during his second run in the Men's Snowboard Slopestyle Final at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park during the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia.

Great Britain's Jamie Nicholls during his second run in the Men's Snowboard Slopestyle Final at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park during the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia.

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Bradford’s Jamie Nicholls got Great Britain’s Winter Olympic medal challenge off to a strong start with an excellent performance in the snowboard slopestyle final in Sochi.

The 20-year-old who learned snowboarding on the dry ski slopes in Halifax finished sixth in the final in Russia.

He was second after the first run of the final after a terrific run and in position for a shock medal.

But at the start of his second run, on the rails he is normally so effective on, he made a minor error and that took the wind out of his sails.

He then had to wait and hope the remaining seven riders did not dislodge him from the third place he had dropped to, and eventually he was knocked to sixth.

It was still a highly credible performance from a young man who had only once finished in the top 10 in an international event, and at no stage did he show any nerves, despite it being the Olympics.

The measure of the man was when he was the first to cheer Sweden’s Sven Thorngren when he knocked him out of the medals with his run.

American Sage Kotsenburg won gold, with Norway’s Staale Sandbach taking silver and Canada’s Mark McMorris hanging on for third.

Nicholls’ British compatriot Billy Morgan, who topped qualifying in this morning’s semi-final, crashed in both runs and finished 10th.

Nicholls said: “I’m really happy that we both made the final and got a top 10 finish.

“It’s weird because I don’t usually fall off the rails, but I’m really proud.

“The level was so high. If we have the facilities in the UK then maybe we’ll see some Brits on the podium in the next one.”

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