“I want to do this for Katie” - Bradford’s Jamie Nicholls suffers second Olympic blow

Great Britain's Jamie Nicholls.
Great Britain's Jamie Nicholls.
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Bradford’s Jamie Nicholls suffered Olympic disappointment for a second time this week when he missed out on qualification for the snowboard slopestyle final at the Winter Games in Pyeongchang.

The 24-year-old, competing at his second Games, recorded a score of 71.56 for the first run to place sixth with one run to go.

Great Britain's Katie Ormerod.

Great Britain's Katie Ormerod.

The top six competitors, based on their best of two runs, advanced to Sunday’s final and Nicholls was seventh ahead of his second run beginning, aware he needed a big score to advance.

But he fell on the penultimate jump to end his hopes of advancing to a second Olympic final, after Sochi 2014.

The blow came two days after team-mate Katie Ormerod, Nicholls’ cousin from Brighouse, was ruled out of her first Olympics with a fractured heel which required surgery after a training crash.

Nicholls said: “I felt so confident: the right mindset, feeling really good about my snowboarding, better than I have throughout my whole career.

“That’s just competitions though. You only get two runs and if it doesn’t work out, it doesn’t work out.”

Norway’s Marcus Kleveland led the way in the first heat with 83.71 points.

Nicholls felt the gusting wind contributed to his failure to land his second jump on the second run, when he had hoped for a big finale with a switch-1400 leap.

Nicholls felt he did not receive just reward for his run after he missed out on advancing by two points, finishing eighth in his heat.

“I was actually a bit gutted about my score,” he added.

“Mid-70s which was what I was hoping for with that kind of run, judging on what some of the other guys did and tricks on the jumps.

“I thought my top section was really strong but obviously it wasn’t to be.”

Ormerod, one of Britain’s brightest medal hopes for these Games, sustained a fractured wrist on the first day of training on Wednesday before returning to training on Thursday intent on competing on Sunday.

Only the 20-year-old crashed again and she watched Nicholls in action from her hospital bed in Seoul, sending him a message to congratulate him after his first run.

Nicholls admitted Ormerod’s accident affected him in training, but downplayed its impact on the competition.

“I was really upset. It even made me cry,” he said.

“I was absolutely gutted and it took me a good four runs to turn that around and just remember I’ve got to do what I came here to do.

“I was right behind Katie when it happened. I saw her slip off the rail, hit the knuckle and I was like ‘argh, that’s not good’.

“She’d just done her arm the day before. So unlucky. First run, first hit and then done.

“That was the rail I was using on my runs as well.

“It didn’t affect me today. I wasn’t thinking about that. I was more thinking ‘I want to do this for Katie’.

“I’m happy, though. I landed a run, I’m safe and I’m healthy and I’m looking forward to Big Air now. It’s quite nice I get a second chance.”