A concussion robbed Meryeta O’Dine of her first chance at Olympic glory.
O’Dine had made Canada’s snowboard team for the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics after a successful 2017-18 campaign on the World Cup snowboard cross circuit. But an injury suffered in training two days before her event knocked her out of the Games.
The 24-year-old from Prince George, B.C., made the most of her second chance, capturing bronze in the women’s snowboard cross on Wednesday.
With American veteran Lindsey Jacobellis riding hard to the line for her first Olympic title in her fifth Games, O’Dine found herself third for the entire race, trying to reel in France’s Chloe Trespeuch while fighting off a challenge from Australia’s Belle Brockhoff.
O’Dine was able to hold off Brockhoff and pick up Canada’s third snowboard medal of the Games.
“You have to play it patient and really line it up in places that you know that you’re going to pass and there are some places that I tried to run out a pass and there ended up being either no space or I slowed myself down,” O’Dine said of the tightly contested final.
Tess Critchlow of Big White, B.C., was sixth after finishing second in the small final.
Canada was looking at the possibility of another multi-medal day, with a short-track speedskating crew led by decorated veteran Charles Hamelin competing in the men’s 1,500 metres later Wednesday.
Earlier, freestyle skier Evan McEachran of Oakville, Ont., looked like a good bet for the podium in the Olympic debut of men’s big air after a big first run, but ended up finishing ninth.
McEachran led through much of the first run after scoring 93.00 — tied for the second-highest scoring trick in the competition — after landing an impressive switch triple cork. That score held until eventual gold medallist Birk Ruud of Norway scored 95.75 on the final jump of the first round.
McEachran went big on his second trick with an 1800 and had plenty of amplitude, but lost control and fell on the landing.
On his final jump, another triple cork, he crashed upon landing putting him out of the medals.
“I had a pretty big mental block, honestly, on both those tricks I did today,” McEachran said. “I’m just happy I was able to go out there and give it a go a couple of times and land on my feet and not get injured.
“Unfortunately, it was an inches game. I think if I put down that second one and hadn’t fallen over, could’ve ended up on the podium. So it’s a tough pill to swallow.”
Ruud had the gold medal sewn up before he took his final jump after scoring 187.75 points over his first two jumps.
Colby Stevenson of the United States took silver with 183.00 points, and Sweden’s Henrik Harlaut earned bronze with 181.00.
In other snowboard action, Canadians Elizabeth Hosking of Longueuil, Que., and Calgary’s Brooke D’Hondt qualified ninth and 10th, respectively, for the halfpipe final.
In alpine skiing, Erin Mielzynski was the top Canadian in the women’s slalom, finishing 16th. Laurence St-Germain of Saint-Ferréol-les-Neiges, Que., was one spot back of her teammate.
In other action scheduled for later Wednesday, 2006 Olympic champion Brad Gushue was set to take on Denmark’s Mikkel Krause in the opening match of the men’s curling competition, and veterans Tristan Walker of Cochrane, Alta., and Calgary’s Justin Snith were set to compete in doubles luge.
—The Canadian Press