Bromley brings down curtain on Olympics career in fitting style

CLOSE CALL: Leeds's Zoe Gillings competes during the Snowboard Cross in Sochi yesterday. Picture: Mike Egerton/PA.
CLOSE CALL: Leeds's Zoe Gillings competes during the Snowboard Cross in Sochi yesterday. Picture: Mike Egerton/PA.
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KRISTAN Bromley is likely to call time on a glorious skeleton career once the dust settles on the Winter Olympics in Sochi – but he admits another top-10 finish at 41-years-old is something to behold.

Sheffield-based Bromley is the oldest member of the 56-strong British team in Russia and equal with alpine skier Chemmy Alcott in terms of Olympic experience having now been to four Games.

But, he hasn’t just turned up for an emotional farewell, from the Olympics at least, if not his career, and the only thing his age has affected at the Sanki Sliding Center are his starts.

Bromley secured his third successive top-10 finish at the Winter Olympics, battling back in the fourth and final run to place ahead of British team-mate Dom Parsons in eighth.

He finished with an overall time of 3.48.17 minutes and will now head off into the sunset on holiday before deciding whether his glorious skeleton career will follow the same path.

“I am really pleased to end this Olympics on such a high note and be in the top 10,” said Bromley, a former World Cup, World and European champion and partner to Olympic silver medallist Shelley Rudman.

“The future holds a holiday hopefully and spending some time with Shelley and make up for not having a Valentine’s Day and going away and enjoying a glass of wine somewhere.

“I don’t know, we’ll let the emotions settle, it is a family decision, it is not just myself, there is Shelley and there is a lot in there with the business. We’ll let the dust settle and then we’ll make some goals.

“To finish in the top 10 three times for me as a British athlete in this sport, I am really proud of that. I wanted the Olympic medal to finish the set off but it didn’t happen.

“I am certainly not going to go away as if I haven’t fulfilled something in my career. I have had some amazing results and I am really proud of those results so I will cherish those forever.”

Bromley was two places ahead of Parsons meaning not only has he been in the top 10 at the past three Olympics – he placed fifth in Turin and sixth in Vancouver – he’s been the best Briton too.

And, with Lizzy Yarnold keeping the nation’s run of medaling at every Olympics since 2002 going with women’s gold, Bromley admitted he enjoyed helping Parsons out.

“Four medals, four Olympic Games. It is a track record that is going to be really hard to follow.

“I would just like to say for the record that this has been one of the most amazing teams to have been part of,” he said.

“Dom is an up-and-coming star, Lizzy is a star and Shelley is a bit of a legend in the sport.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed it and hats off to those guys, I have just had a fantastic time.”

Zoe Gillings, meanwhile, did her best to sound upbeat after losing out on an Olympic final place following a photo finish.

Gillings and Italian rival Michela Moioli rolled across the line on their backsides after both fell within sight of the finish in the women’s snowboard cross semi-finals in Rosa Khutor.

Unfortunately for Gillings, Moioli rolled just that little bit quicker. It meant she settled for ninth place on her third Olympic appearance and was again left to reflect on what might have been, following her 15th in Turin and eighth four years ago in Vancouver.

It wouldn’t be snowboard cross – in which six riders race each other down a course punctuated with lumps, bumps and jumps – without some drama from American Lindsey Jacobellis.

She who wrote her name into sporting folklore by pulling a showboating trick within sight of the finish line at the 2006 Games – and falling flat on her face to lose gold, the ultimate example of sporting hubris.

She was well clear of her rivals again in Gillings’s semi-final, only to catch an edge and fall, which promoted the British snowboarder into a qualifying place but, decisively, also forced her to slow down.

When Gillings came across the final jump she was neck and neck with Moioli but both fell again in their desperate attempt to make the top three, they didn’t dip for the line but tumble across it.

“I’m really disappointed about the photo finish and not quite making the final but it can be pretty small margins in this sport. One of the officials said I’d made it but it flashed up on the screen about 15 seconds later that I hadn’t,” she said. “Lindsey fell in front of me and I had to change my line a little bit and that cost me some speed.

“There are crashes in snowboard cross and you have to deal with it and concentrate on what you’re doing.”

Gillings, 28, has overcome countless injuries, including crushing her foot – which left the bones inside looking like cornflakes – in 2005.

Doctors said she’d never snowboard competitively again but she’s already looking towards a fourth Olympic campaign in Pyeongchang although not until her next project – a summer wedding to coach Dan Brier.

“This is my first Olympics where I’ve not had an injury,” she added. “I’ll keep going as long as I can do, I still love the sport and there is no reason to stop unless something really makes me.”

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