Australia fawns over star’s classy moment
FOR a small moment things looked like they would work out for Britt Cox at the Winter Olympics.
Not in the kind of form that saw her win seven World Cups and a world championship the previous season, the moguls skier took to her final run at Bokwang Phoenix Park with the speed and aggression that had seemingly been missing in recent weeks.
But a mistake on the top jump saw her finish fifth behind compatriot Jakara Anthony (4th).
Gold was taken by France's Perrine Laffont (78.65 points) with Justine Dufour- Lapointe of Canada (78.56) second and Kazakhstan's Yulia Galysheva (77.40) winning bronze.
Surprisingly Cox - who was born in Wodonga and grew up near Falls Creek, Victoria - was also edged out by teammate Anthony (75.35), who has only made one other final in her three-season World Cup career but skied superbly to finish fourth.
After skiing well in the penultimate final to qualify second for the six-woman decider, Cox came in a little hot on the first jump, losing control of her 360-degree rotation as her right arm flailed in the air to control the spin. She recovered well but not well enough.
Her immediate turns - the element in moguls worth 60 per cent of the score - were messy as she tried to regain her rhythm.
While the rest of the run was strong and her speed (20 per cent of the score; along with jumps) was fast, that was effectively enough to knock her out of medal contention.
"My goal for this entire week and for tonight in particular was to go for it," she said in an interview with Channel Seven.
"I skied fast, I jumped big and for that I am super proud.
"I went for it and pushed it a little too hard in the super final there and was scrappy and the girls that were on the podium and Jakara's performance, they are very well deserving of their results.
"I went big and I skied fast and it didn't pay off for me in the super final, but I achieved my goal of going for it."
Cox was widely praised for showing such class in defeat.
Less than two months ago Cox had been the hottest of Australian prospects for a gold medal at these Games.
She had rolled into a new World Cup moguls season full of confidence after the single greatest season by any Australian winter athlete.
The party continued as she took out the season-opening event in Finland on December 9.
Then things began to, if not unravel, at least unfurl. She had one victory in Calgary interspersed with finishes of 25th, fourth, seventh and fourth. Very little was given away until towards the end of January, when coach Steve Desovich pulled her out of a World Cup event to do more strength and conditioning training.
Speaking two days before competition he admitted those around her had improved while Cox had "levelled off".
But he too couldn't pinpoint how it had gone wrong.
For Anthony, it was her best performance on the biggest stage. "I'm super excited about that," she said. "It was the result I'd been hoping for all season and to achieve it at the Olympics is really special." Madii Himbury was 20th while Claudia Gueli was 23rd.