PyeongChang 2018: Day 11 in Review

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Mica McNeill and Mica Moore sit sixth in the women’s bobsleigh standings at the halfway point while it was another very good day for Great Britain’s curling rinks.

Bobsleigh’s Micas are just 0.16 off a medal in sixth ahead of the final two runs at the Olympic Sliding Centre
Big wins for Team GB’s curling skips, as Kyle Smith’s team beats Norway and Eve Muirhead gets the better of Japan
Rowan Cheshire’s all smiles with seventh in the women’s ski halfpipe
Eleventh place for ice dance comeback stars Penny Coomes and Nick Buckland
Elise Christie, Kathryn Thomson and Charlotte Gilmartin exit short track 1000m event at the heat stage

Mica McNeill couldn’t hide her excitement as she found herself in the medal mix at the women’s bobsleigh.

She and Mica Moore are currently sitting sixth at the half-way stage, with a combined time of 1:41.72, 0.16 seconds off third place. German pilot Jamanka Mariama currently tops the standings, 0.46 faster than the Brits.

“We are over the moon. It’s a four-heat race so we’ve still got a lot to focus on,” she said.

“But we said before we got here that we just wanted to enjoy it, we worked so hard to get here and that’s what we’re doing.

“We’ve had so much fun and we want to carry that on for the third and fourth run.

“We’re brand new to this track so we’re still learning and there’s a couple of bits to improve on.

“We’ve got more in the tank for the start definitely and there’s a few little bits to tidy up on the drive.”

Curling at the Olympics is a marathon, not a sprint. While some sports are blink and you’ll miss it affairs, any team contesting the podium places here will have spent nearly 40 hours on the ice.

And that means pacing yourself is key and British rinks are enjoying winning streaks. Further victories tomorrow for both teams will see them secure semi-final spots.

Kyle Smith’s men’s team beat Norway’s Thomas Ulsrud, a former world champion and Olympic silver medallist, 10-3.

“A big shout out to Kyle as this was his best game,” said coach Viktor Kjell.

“The most important thing was that it was a good confidence boost for the team’s feeling on the ice and also for Kyle.

“Not that his confidence had been low by any means but it’s always nice for your skip to nail a couple of good shots.”

And Eve Muirhead was a confident 8-6 winner over Japan.

“Our experience has been shining through,” said vice-skip Anna Sloan.

“I also think it’s important not to lose perspective and not to change too much and appreciate that we have been close in all of these games and we have been building.”

Freestyle Skiing
Rowan Cheshire was all smiles after mixing it with the best in the women’s ski halfpipe final.

Four years ago Cheshire was injured in pre-Olympic training, denying her the chance to compete in Sochi.

So that made her seventh place finish in a highly-competitive final all the more satisfying – and, she insists, there is room for improvement after her recent injury troubles.

“This is amazing, I will look back on this day with a lot of joy and happiness,” said Cheshire, the first British female skier to win a World Cup halfpipe title back in January 2014.

“It was always the goal to make finals. With the amount of training I’ve had, I wouldn’t have thought seventh would be possible. The standard is pretty high, I would have brushed it off as impossible.”

Short Track Speed Skating
Elise Christie final hopes for an Olympic medal at PyeongChang 2018 ended this evening in the heats of the women’s 1000m.

The three-time world champion suffered an injury during the 500m but bravely took to the ice in qualifying for the 1000m, only to fall once again on the first bend.

She got up and returned to the start line for the restart, gingerly setting off and allowing others to contest the race while she stayed patient. Using every bit of energy she qualified in second, only to then be disqualified for two in-race penalties.

“I’ll be back in Beijing,” she promised immediately after the race. “For all the success I’ve had, I can’t let this define me.

“I’m going to get myself so strong that I’ll get out in front and get away from everyone and that’ll be the focus now.

“I’m world champion and world record holder and I’ve proved myself. I wanted to bring it home for Britain, I could sense the support of the nation all the way from here.

“It would’ve meant the world to me. I’m devastated that I couldn’t but I know this is short-track.”

Team-mates Charlotte Gilmartin and Kathryn Thomson also didn’t progress beyond their heat on what was the final night of short track action for Team GB.

Figure Skating
After they completed their third Olympic figure skating appearance with a finish just outside the top ten in 11th, Penny Coomes and Nick Buckland were finally able to reflect on their improbable journey.

Since making their debuts in Vancouver, Buckland has had heart surgery and Coomes has recovered from a horrific knee injury that doctors thought would end her career.

The former European bronze medallists scored 101.96 on their reworked free skate to drop one place from their position after the short programme.

And both admitted frustration at their time away from competition had impacted on scores.

“I think we felt we performed really well, even if the scores were a little bit disappointing,” said Buckland.

“The way we finished, we should be really pleased with it but sometimes scores can change your feelings about your performance.”

Coomes added: “I do feel a little bit because we sat out a year we’ve been put back where we were before. I do feel that coming into these Games that we were competitive and we could have been fighting for a bronze medal.”

What to look out for tomorrow…
Three sports are in action with Eve Muirhead’s rink taking on world champions Canada at 9.05am (12.05am) in the curling.

Kyle Smith’s team then play the United States at 2.05pm (5.05am) with a place in the play-offs – and avoiding the tiebreakers – the aim.

Billy Morgan, Rowan Coultas and Jamie Nicholls are in big air qualifying action at 9.30am (12.30am) and Mica McNeill and Mica Moore tackle the last two runs of the bobsleigh at 8.40pm (11.40am).

Report courtesy of Team GB