PYEONGCHANG (Reuters) - When Katie Ormerod, a bubbly, popular and highly-talented British snowboarder, pulled out of the Winter Games with a severe heel injury on Thursday, it was not just her Olympic dream that was impacted.
For all her team-mates, it has not been the perfect Olympic preparation either.
Ormerod suffered a severe fracture to her right heel bone in a fall during training and had to undergo surgery, ending her Olympic dreams.
The British snowboarding team are a close-knit group and Ormerod’s misfortune has resonated through the team and has probably had the biggest impact on Jamie Nicholls, who is Ormerod’s cousin.
Nicholls, who failed to qualify for the slopestyle final with two disappointing runs in qualification on Saturday, said Katie’s injury has been devastating.
“I was really upset and it even made me cry and I was absolutely gutted and so it took me a good four runs to turn that around,” Nicholls said after his second qualification run.
“I was right behind Katie when it happened so I saw her slip off the rail, hit the knuckle and thought that wasn’t good. Obviously she had just done her arm the day before and it is just so unlucky. First run, first hit and then done.”
Nicholls, who is four years older than his cousin and competing in his second Olympics, did not, however, use Ormerod’s injury as an excuse for failing to qualify.
All three of the British snowboarders competing in the men’s slopestyle failed to qualify for Sunday’s final.
Reporting by Jack Tarrant; editing by Sudipto Ganguly