Silver on his rebuilt knees
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.