Sil­ver on his re­built knees

The Observer - - SPORT | DIGEST -

WIN­TER OLYMPICS: Jar­ryd Hughes, a 22-year-old Syd­ney rider who has had five knee re­con­struc­tions, has claimed Aus­tralia’s third medal of the Olympics with sil­ver in an in­sane snow­board cross event. Hughes was joined in the fi­nal by Alex ‘Chumpy’ Pullin, whose run of bad luck at Olympic level con­tin­ued into a third Games as he crashed and fin­ished sixth in a fi­nal won by French de­fend­ing cham­pion Pierre Vaultier. Hughes told Chan­nel 7 he could not be­lieve his re­sult. “I think it hit me when I was over there and giv­ing my Mum and Dad a hug and there were a few tears,” he said. “I am happy to see all the hard work has paid off. It was a rough year but we made it work so I am re­ally happy. “I never doubted I would get back (af­ter five knee ops). “To come back from five was rough and my knee is not per­fect and it never will be un­for­tu­nately. But I am just so happy to have done this.” It had ap­peared to be an un­likely re­sult ear­lier in the day, af­ter Hughes strug­gled in the open­ing seed­ing run, fin­ish­ing 28th on fastest times. He topped the stand­ings in the sec­ond seed­ing to progress. Hughes made the quar­ter­fi­nals in 2014 at Sochi af­ter go­ing into the Games ranked No.2. He won the pres­ti­gious X Games gold in 2016 and has a World Cup win this sea­son. Vaultier was lucky to be in the race af­ter crash­ing in the semi but he picked him­self up to scrape through in third. In the fi­nal Vaultier led all the way and Hughes got in be­hind him and re­fused to budge de­spite plenty of chal­lenges. Pullin went down mid­way through the race. Pullin is a two-time world cham­pion and was look­ing for his first Olympic medal in his third Games. It was Aus­tralia’s first ever boarder cross medal at an Olympics and Aus­tralia’s 15th medal over­all with five golds, five sil­vers and five bronze.


IN­SANE RACE: Jar­ryd Hughes cel­e­brates his sil­ver medal.

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