Once the initial disappointment had passed, Murray Buchan predicted he would be able to look back on his PyeongChang adventure full of pride.
After waiting patiently for his turn to take centre stage in the second week of the Games, freestyle skier Buchan dropped into the halfpipe yesterday for the men’s qualification round.
He was one of three Brits in the competition, alongside Peter Speight and Alexander Glavatsky-Yeadon, with two runs to show the world what he was all about.
And the first effort went solidly enough as he landed his run to score 66.00 and sit ninth, inside the required top-12 needed to progress to finals day.
That was in contrast to his team-mates, who both took tumbles and found themselves towards the bottom of the leaderboard.
The last man to drop in the second heat, Buchan watched on as the rest of the field stepped up their efforts at the Phoenix Snow Park and he dropped down to 14th.
A better second effort was needed but, while again completing his run, he was only able to score 65.40 from the judges.
He was consistent in scores across his two runs, but crucially 2.60 off 12th and a place in the final. There was small consolation in that he was the highest-placing Brit ahead of Speight in 15th while it was also three places better than he managed four years ago in Sochi.
But Buchan had targeted more, specifically the chance to compete on finals day.
“I’m really pleased to land both my runs although I’m disappointed to be so close,” he said.
“I feel like my chance to make the final is gone, you never know when you’re going to get another shot so it’s disappointing.
“But I really hoped that I was going to land one of my runs with both doubles in it and I did it twice so I’m really happy with that.”
While the men may not have qualified for the halfpipe final, there was female representation yesterday as Rowan Cheshire – four years on from suffering a horror-crash in pre-Games training which left her severely concussed – finished seventh.
It followed on from an historic first medal on skis for the GB Park and Pipe outfit after 19-year-old freestyle skier Izzy Atkin – the youngest member of Team GB in PyeongChang – picked up bronze in the slopestyle final.
Buchan himself has competed in slopestyle in the past – and won the British under-16 title in the past – although he has opted to concentrate on the halfpipe in recent years.
And the three-time British halfpipe champion admitted his second Olympic Games had proved to be just as exciting as his first one.
“It’s a great experience. It’s still not really sunk in,” he said. “Because you’re in the thick of it, you don’t really realise the scale and enormity of things. It’s all really exciting. Hopefully I get to do it again.”
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