Hip injury prevents Sheffield’s Woods from claiming slice of Olympic glory

Great Britain's James Woods in the Men's Ski Slopestyle qualification at Rosa Khutor Extreme Park
Great Britain's James Woods in the Men's Ski Slopestyle qualification at Rosa Khutor Extreme Park
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medal glory proved beyond Yorkshire’s leading hopefuls yesterday, but Great Britain is on the cusp of earning its first gold of the Winter Olympics in Sochi today.

Lizzy Yarnold holds a commanding half-a-second lead in the skeleton ahead of the medal runs today following a dominant performance at the Sanki Sliding Centre yesterday.

Sheffield-based Shelley Rudman who, as an Olympic silver medallist eight years ago and a current World Cup bronze medallist, was expected to challenge for the medals had a bad first run and has left herself too much to do from 11th place.

Bath’s Yarnold was always the favourite for the skeleton title, as was Sheffield’s James Woods in the skiing slopestyle.

But in an event as unpredictable as this, recent form is not the only barometer and with a hip injury hampering his preparations and limiting his performance, the 22-year-old finished outside the medals in fifth place.

Given he learned on Sheffield’s dry ski slopes and never had the luxury of snow that his rivals enjoyed, it still represents a remarkable performance.

The injury he suffered to his hip on a training run last week had proven so restrictive that he almost pulled out on the eve of the race, but he said: “With so much support behind me, it would have been pretty rubbish for me to wuss out now.

“I’m a bit sore but ultimately very, very happy and proud to have represented Great Britain in such an incredible event.

“Fifth place at the Olympics, with four of my best mates up in front of me, when I probably shouldn’t have even been skiing is not bad.”

Controversy surrounded the dashing of medal hopes for short-track speed skater Elise Christie, who was disqualified from silver medal position in the 500m.

Christie, whose favoured 1,000m is next week, clashed with Italy’s Arianna Fontana, causing both women to crash to the ice before Korea’s Park Seung-Hi also went flying into the barrier.

The Scot scrambled back to finish second, only to find she was adjudged to have caused the collision and was disqualified.

Christie said she respected the decision, but added that her competitive instinct refused to let her play safe.

The best is yet to come from Britons, says Woods: Page 23.