Winter Olympics: Sheffield’s Katie Summerhayes still smiling despite no Beijing freestyle skiing medal

KATIE SUMMERHAYES was finally smiling after an Olympic final - no medal but sheer relief there were no tears either.

NICE GOING: Sheffield's Katie Summerhayes is happy after her run during the Women's Freestyle Skiing Freeski Slopestyle Final at Genting Snow Park Picture: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images
NICE GOING: Sheffield's Katie Summerhayes is happy after her run during the Women's Freestyle Skiing Freeski Slopestyle Final at Genting Snow Park Picture: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Freestyle skier Summerhayes finished seventh in her previous slopestyle final appearances in Sochi and PyeongChang.

This time she was ninth, one place behind Team GB’s breakthrough act Kirsty Muir, and well off the pace set by gold medallist, Switzerland’s Mathilde Gremaud.

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However, there were certainly no regrets for the 26-year-old from Sheffield.

EASY DOES IT: Katie Summerhayes performs a trick during the Women's Freestyle Skiing Freeski Slopestyle Final at Genting Snow Park. Picture Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)

“I thought that I could get on that podium,” she admitted. “But the thing that has changed for me is just that I had so much fun, it was a different kind of vibe for me. I wanted to go out and enjoy myself and I feel like I did that.

“The past two Olympics I’ve been in tears at the bottom and I’m absolutely cheesin’ now, so I’m really happy. The standard is amazing and to be a part of that is crazy, I’m really proud of what they are doing.”

Summerhayes - who missed last week’s Big Air final by a single place - knows what it’s like to be dubbed the ‘next big thing’ after becoming the youngest British woman to win a World Cup skiing medal aged 19.

In a sign of how quickly this sport moves, she was the oldest woman in the final at Genting Snow Park but she’s in no mood to give things up yet.

MADE IT: Katie Summerhayes pictured at the bottom after on competing in the Women's Slopestyle Final at the Genting Snow Park. Picture: Andrew Milligan/PA

“I need to take some time, get through the rest of the season and have a bit of a break because it has been full on and decide what I want to do,” she added. “I’ve had so much fun at these Olympics, and I don’t want to stop yet, so we will see.”

China’s Eileen Gu - the Big Air gold medallist - had to settle for silver, denying a small but partisan crowd their home hero moment.

America-born and raised Gu could still be the face of these Games with another medal in the halfpipe and Summerhayes is in awe of her performances - and her profile.

“I think she just got a million followers on Instagram the other day, I’ve got my 10,000,” she joked. “She’s great and just the fact that she could inspire someone who could then come through in four or eight years and win that gold - that’s what it’s all about.

“I’m eight years older and I’ve just done five days in a row skiing, and I’ll probably need to take a couple of weeks off. I can’t believe she’s doing three events.

“These girls coming through are so impressive and I’ve loved being on the team with Kirsty. She can be up there on the podium. She just needs to keep training and keep enjoying it. She knows exactly what she needs to do.”

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