Australia’s best remaining hopes of ending their Sochi Winter Olympics gold medal drought have crashed out of the men’s snowboard cross competition.
Pre-race favourite Alex ‘Chumpy’ Pullin, a two-time world champion in the sport, failed to escape the quarter-finals while young duo Jarryd Hughes and Cameron Bolton were both victims of unfortunate crashes in the high-octane sport.
The unheralded Bolton was considered the least likely of the three to emerge on top, but he was the only Australian to charge into the semi-finals.
He was in good position during his semi as well before colliding with an opponent mid-race while in second place, with the top three of the six competitors to advance to the final.
Pullin, the two-time world champion, endured a poor start in his quarter-final and was unable to recover, finishing fourth.
Australia’s flagbearer said the rainy conditions were not ideal.
“It’s tough, but I was ready for that today,” he said.
“We came up, it’s pouring rain. Visibility is really tough. Most importantly the track’s changed a lot.
“Things have changed in size – the whole rhythm of it all was a bit out. It threw everyone this morning, including myself.
“…I chased hard (in my quarter-final) and put the hammer down towards the end (but it wasn’t enough).”
IMAGE: Supplied photo of Alex Pullin of Australia (Cameron Spencer)