Atkin bags slopestyle bronze for Britain’s first Winter Olympics medal on skis

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Izzy Atkin is the “dark horse” who won Great Britain’s first Winter Olympics skiing medal, with ski slopestyle bronze on Saturday.

The 19-year-old, the youngest member of the British team, retained her composure to soar to third place at Phoenix Snow Park.

She scored 84.60 with her final run to claim Britain’s second bronze, after Dom Parsons’ men’s skeleton third place on Friday.

Switzerland’s Sarah Hoefflin, who spent part of her youth in Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire, and went to university in Cardiff, won with 91.20 ahead of her team-mate Mathilde Gremaud.

“I still can’t believe it. I’m really overwhelmed. I’m just really happy,” Atkin said.

“I’m really proud of how I skied in that last run. I would have been stoked with anything but I am really happy with third.”

Atkin, who is based in Park City, Utah, and has British and Malaysian parents, was persuaded to compete for Britain by Park and Pipe ski head coach Pat Sharples, who was aware of her dual nationality.

“She’s been the dark horse, the little quiet girl who has come from behind and this is just the start of her career,” Sharples said.

Izzy Atkin in action during the women's ski slopestyle in which she won a bronze medal for Great Britain
Izzy Atkin in action during the women’s ski slopestyle in which she won a bronze medal for Great Britain (David Davies/PA Images)

Sharples was more nervous than Atkin.

“I was throwing up,” he added.  “I knew they would have to put down big runs but I had just drunk loads of water and I just couldn’t handle it all. I was throwing my guts up.”

Katie Summerhayes, world silver medallist in 2015, scored 71.40 for her second run of the three-run final, good enough for seventh.

Atkin was awarded 79.40 for her second run to move to third entering the final run, which she began knowing she needed to improve to get on the podium. And she did for an historic British medal on skis.

Alain Baxter was stripped of slalom bronze in 2002 for an anti-doping rule violation relating to a common cold medicine.

Jenny Jones won Britain’s first Olympic medal on snow with bronze in the women’s snowboard slopestyle event four years ago in Sochi.

Hoefflin afterwards insisted she was fully Swiss, as she does not even have a British passport.

“I lived in the UK for 10 years or so but I moved back to Switzerland. I am not British, I just lived there,” she said.

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