Seamus O’Connor misses out on half-pipe final in Sochi

Shaun White fourth as ‘I-Pod’ calls the tune under the lights at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park

 

Ireland’s Seamus O’Connor narrowly missed out on a place in the snowboard halfpipe final today when he hit the snow for the first time all day on the final trick of his second semi-final run .

It meant that he finished in 15th place of 40, to go along with his 17th in the slopestyle event over the weekend.

“It’s hard,” a visibly upset O’Connor said afterwards. “That’s just the game we play. You have good days and bad days and some of them are like this where you just don’t quite get it the way you know you can. It was only a very small mistake.

“I really could have landed that trick and I really thought I could have made into contention for the final.”

O’Connor’s first run had been safe for the most part on snow that was beginning to freeze hard as the night-time temperature dropped to zero. Conditions were tough for the riders, evidenced by the amount of falls there were. Seven of the 11 semi-finalist fell on their first run and O’Connor only barely stayed up in posting a 54.00.

Though he was fourth after the first run – with six to qualify for the final – he knew he would have to try something more complicated to make the final. His second run was far more impressive and had he stuck the final trick, he would surely have posted a score in the 70s. As it was, the back of his board went from under him and he ended up with 43.00. The lowest score to make the final was 75.50.

“This is my first Olympics and I’m 16. I guess I should just be happy that I was able to do it fairly well. At the same time, I’m really quite upset that I’m not joining my friends in the final.”

Switzerland’s Iouri ‘I-Pod’ Podladtchikov later won gold as Shaun White, going in search of a third successive title, finished outside the medals in fourth.

Russian-born Podladtchikov put in a stunning second run under the lights at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park to earn 94.75 points, which proved enough to win the contest.

Fifteen-year-old Japanese Ayumu Hirano took silver with 93.50 on his second run, pipping his 18-year-old compatriot Taku Hiraoka, who took bronze with 92.25.

White dropped two tricks on his first run and could only manage 90.25 on his second.

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