Brockhoff faces gruelling fitness battle

Belle Brockhoff's recovery from back-to-back knee injuries to reach PyeongChang has been remarkable but question marks remain over the snowboard cross star's fitness.

The 25-year-old saw fellow Australians Jarryd Hughes, who won silver, and Alex Pullin reach the men's final a day before her competition on Friday.

The long track has provided plenty of spills during the 2018 Games, with more than one rider sledded off with injuries.

Brockhoff had surgery after a training crash in December, requiring medical clearance to compete at her second Winter Olympics.

She has earned the chance to improve on her semi-final elimination in Sochi four years ago, with her latest injury occurring on the cusp of her competitive comeback from a torn ACL suffered in March.

Pullin, who crashed in the six-man final to finish last, was unsure if Brockhoff's knee would hold up.

"Hard to say. There's so many things that come into play," he said after competing on Thursday.

"She's been working really hard. She knows what she needs to do. She'll make those right decisions.

"At the end of the day, it has to be up to her. You can only really do it properly when you stand in the gate and you can tell yourself, 'yeah, I've got this'.

"She knows that. We've had a couple of chats about the track and that sort of thing. We'll hopefully be able to catch up later today and talk about how the racing was and how the course was and the conditions."

Both Pullin and Hughes, who has had five knee operations, spoke of the stress course had placed on their bodies.

"My knee's still sore from those flat landings," Hughes said.

Also on day seven Australian figure skater Brendan Kerry will begin his second Olympics campaign when he contests the short program.

He failed to progress past the first stage in Sochi with a performance well below his best, admitting he was overwhelmed by the experience.

"I just wasn't ready for it all. It was like I just couldn't process it properly," Kerry said.

John Farrow will continue in the skeleton, with a medal looking unlikely as he sits in a tie for 19th with two runs remaining.

Teammate Jaclyn Narracott has opening two runs on Friday, while cross-country skier Phillip Bellingham will contest the men's 15km.

Australia is a strong chance to come away with a medal with for the fourth straight day when the women's aerials final is held, with Thursday's qualification featuring two-time medallist Lydia Lassila.

Back To Top
feedback