Ladies SBX medal decision reloaded

15 February 2014 14:48
The top favourites for Gold at Sochi are Lindsey Jacobellis, Dominique Maltais and Maelle Ricker
The top favourites for Gold at Sochi are Lindsey Jacobellis, Dominique Maltais and Maelle Ricker -
Oliver Kraus

The 2014 top favourites for Gold are the ones who were the odds-on athletes at the Vancouver Games.

Four years ago, it was Maelle Ricker (CAN) crowning her career with the coveted Gold on home soil. At the XXII Olympic Winter Games the reigning Olympic and World Champion is once again a title aspirant but is a little bit handicapped due to her broken wrist.

Ricker, who is known for her strong starts, says that her wrist is likely to hurt as she pushes herself out of the starting gate in her runs on Sunday.

“I'm definitely feeling pressure,” she said. “I really want to ride the way I was riding in early January and on that last (training) run it was starting to come back.”

However, one of her strongest competition is team mate Dominique Maltais.

The current World Cup tour leader is looking to extend Canada’s success in ladies snowboard cross.

The most consistent rider of the last years, who had won Bronze in 2006, has finished on the podium of all four World Cup races this season (2-2-1-2) and wants to add another win to her incredible streak.

In addition, Maltais has placed first or second in 10 of the last 11 World Cup races in the last two seasons.

Interesting side fact: the only other World Cup result was a 13th rank in Sochi at the 2013 test events.

While Maltais seems to have built up the momentum in the lead-up to tomorrow's showdown, another powerhouse is also going for another shot at Gold.

Three-time snowboard cross World Champion Lindsey Jacobellis (USA) hopes the number three is also lucky at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games as she seeks redemption for a showboat move that lost her the Gold eight years ago at Torino.

After navigating most of the course and avoiding any crashes, Jacobelllis was set for victory when she attempted a grab off one of the last jumps.

She fell and watched as Tanja Frieden (SUI) zoomed by to take the Gold while she was left with Silver.

Four years later at Vancouver 2010, the US veteran did not even make it to the final round. She hopes the end will be different at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park.

Competing in her third Olympic Winter Games SBX race like her main rivals Ricker and Maltais, eight-time X Games champion Jacobellis, 28, makes amends now after falling out of Gold medal contention at Torino.

“It's a new day, it's a new race,” she said after the second day of training on the snowboard cross course. “I haven't given up. I've had two major knee surgeries - I want to prove to myself I can still be in this sport after 16 years of racing.”

However, besides the big three, there are also some other women who are keen to step on the podium.

One of them is Eva Samkova, a young gun of the Czech Republic.

The three-time Junior World Champion is probably one of the greatest talents of Czech sports. Next to two World Cup victories this season, she ranked 2nd at the recent X-Games in Aspen.

Competition starts on Sunday 16 February at 11:00, with seeding runs and finals scheduled to begin at 13:40.