New Zealand's Shelly Gotlieb finished seventh in the women's
slopestyle at the world championships in Canada at the
No fewer than 10 of the women's field failed to start, having
sustained injuries in training for the Stoneham event.
Gotlieb, who was ''happy to survive another day'', missed out
on top-six finals qualification by a mere 0.66 points.
Cold, windy conditions led to the event being postponed a day
and the semifinal stage being removed. That meant the top six
female qualifiers would move straight through to finals,
along with the top 20 men.
After her disappointing results at last week's world cup in
Copper Mountain, Colorado, Gotlieb was hungry for a top
Approaching the first jump of her first run, she opted for a
difficult cab 5 trick to backflip but could not make the
Knowing she needed to land a complete run, Gotlieb took a
more conservative approach on her second run. A cab 5 to
straight air, backside 720, 50/50 to indy grab earned her a
score of 80. A place in the final looked likely until an
American rider pulled out a score of 86.66, bumping Gotlieb
''It was a super challenging day,'' she said.
''I had to really play the game to make it through. I'm happy
with a seventh.''
Despite landing their runs, New Zealand team-mates Stefi
Luxton and Rebecca Torr failed to shine, Torr finishing 18th
and Luxton 22nd.
The brutal course also took its toll on the male athletes,
Kiwi Stef Zeestraten among them.
After a strong performance in the men's qualification rounds,
in which he was third in his heat and sixth overall,
Zeestraten was ready to put down an even better run. However,
a huge crash in training and a painful ''face meets knee''
incident left him rattled.
Soldiering on into competition, Zeestraten could not get the
rotation he needed on a switchback double 1080 in the first
run and he scored a low 41. He was better on the second run,
scoring 50.5 to climb to 15th place.
Fellow New Zealander Ben Comber finished 19th after coming
unstuck on a frontside 1080 in his first run and a switchback
900 in his second run.