Sochi 2014: Jenny Jones wins historic British slopestyle bronze

By Nick HopeBBC Olympic sports reporter in Sochi
Britain's Jones wins historic bronze medal

Snowboarder Jenny Jones won Great Britain's first Olympic medal on the snow with a dramatic slopestyle bronze in Sochi.

Jones, 33, held the lead after scoring 87.25 points in her second run and had an agonising wait while 10 athletes tried to better her score.

American Jamie Anderson eventually took gold with 95.25, ahead of Finland's Enni Rukajarvi on 92.50.

"I did the best run I could have done," a thrilled Jones told BBC Sport.

Jones scored 73.00 to place fifth after the first round, just 4.25 points off the podium places, and after an impressive second run she secured the bronze when the final competitor, Austrian medal prospect Anna Gasser, fell.

"It feels amazing," added Jones. "I cannot believe it, I just can't believe it. I knew I was going to drop [from first place] but I didn't know how far. I am just so happy.

"It was so difficult waiting. I thought I did my best run and landed it as best as I could."

Jones, from Bristol, becomes the first Briton to win a medal at a Winter Games on snow rather than ice, where 22 medals had been won before Sochi in events such as figure skating, curling, skeleton, bobsleigh and, in the more distant past, ice hockey.

Alain Baxter thought he had become Britain's first medal-winner on snow in the 2002 Winter Olympics when he finished third in the men's slalom, but his bronze was taken away in controversial circumstances after he failed a drugs test.

The medal continues a remarkable story for Jones, a three-time X Games slopestyle gold medallist, who has worked in a cardboard factory, a doughnut shop and as a chalet maid to help fund her snowboarding career.

Slopestyle was only accepted into the Sochi Olympic programme in 2012, at a time when Jones was considering her future in the sport.

There was a reminder of its dangers in the Olympic final when Czech Sarka Pancochova, who had led after the first run, fell heavily and slid down the slope before being helped to her feet and making her way to the bottom, where she showed Jones a huge crack in her helmet.

Jones had suffered a serious concussion back in December, and British freestyle snowboard coach Hamish McKnight heaped praise on her achievement.

"I'm extremely proud," he told BBC Sport.

"It has been a long journey and she hasn't had the easiest time of it over the last few months, so it means so much for her and the team.

Slippery slopestyle false start

"I think this could be a big deal for UK snowboarding. We've proved what we do works and if we can get more of it [funding] we can get more of this [medals]."

Among those watching on television was British Olympic heptathlon gold medallist Jessica Ennis-Hill,external-link who said on Twitter: "Amazing. I was gripped!!"

And also on Twitter, Wimbledon champion Andy Murrayexternal-link said after Jones's final run: "Jenny Jones! Is it wrong to hope everyone left falls?" followed soon after by "Yesssssssssssssssss!"

Great Britain team-mate Jamie Nicholls, who was sixth in Saturday's men's final, said: "This is amazing, I'm shaking.

"Jenny's been though a lot, she was at the top four years ago and for her to come here and put it down and get a bronze medal is pretty crazy!

"We don't even have mountains in our country but this shows anyone can make it happen."

Jenny JonesCzech Republic's Sarka Pancochova (R) speaks with Great Britain's Jenny Jones after crashingJenny JonesJenny JonesJenny JonesJenny Jones