Australia rocked by skier's 'heartbreaking' drama at Winter Olympics

·Sports Editor
·4-min read
Taylah O'Neill, pictured here in the women's moguls at the Winter Olympics.
Taylah O'Neill was unable to complete her run in the women's moguls at the Winter Olympics. Image: Channel 7

There were heartbreaking scenes for Australia at the Winter Olympics on Thursday night when Taylah O'Neill was unable to compete in the moguls event.

O'Neill tore her ACL just four weeks ago and had been desperately hoping to be fit for the Games.

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While she did make it to Beijing and was able to ski, she quickly realised she was not going to be able to compete properly in the hard and icy conditions.

The Beijing Olympics is the first in history to use 100 per cent artificial snow due to the dry climate in Zhangjiakou, 160km outside of Beijing.

In heartbreaking scenes on Thursday night, the Sydneysider was forced to ski down the moguls track on the outside of the barriers, failing to register a score.

The devastation was evident on her face as she stood at the bottom of the course and awaited her DNF result.

"That is really disappointing for Taylah O'Neill," commentator Alister Nicholson said on Channel 7.

"She was so determined that she was at least going to start here tonight and see what happened.

"Unfortunately the timing for Taylah was just so inopportune."

Matt Graham, who later competed in the men's event, said O'Neill was shattered.

"She's dealing with a lot more pain and suffering than me - it's a shame to see her go out the way she has," he said.

"These tough, firm conditions - you wouldn't want a sore knee in this sort of stuff."

Jakara Anthony's stunner to lead moguls event

Meanwhile, Jakara Anthony laid down an Olympic gold medal marker, finishing on top of qualifying in the moguls at Zhangjiakou.

The 23-year-old blitzed the Beijing course to finish on top of the 30-skier field, while four-time Olympian Britt Cox was in ninth place.

No Australian man finished in the top 10, with 2018 silver medallist Graham bitterly disappointed after failing to finish.

Jakara Anthony, pictured here in action during the women's moguls at the Winter Olympics.
Jakara Anthony in action during the women's moguls at the Winter Olympics. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Anthony posted a score of 83.75 to sit clear of defending Olympic champion Perrine Laffont of France, who scored 81.11.

All 30 skiers completed the first run of qualifying, with the top 10 skipping the second round to move through to the first women's final on Sunday.

Fellow Australian Sophie Ash finished in 13th.

Brodie Summers was the best of the men in green and gold, just missing the top 10 in 11th.

Olympic debutant Cooper Woods placed 14th and James Matheson was 20th.

Anthony finished a surprise fourth at the last Olympics in PyeongChang, but arrived in Beijing as a medal favourite after jostling with Laffont and Japanese teen sensation Anri Kawamura in the World Cup standings all season.

"I'm really proud and happy with what I was able to achieve just then," Anthony said.

"I transferred really well from training to competition but there's definitely still bits I want to work on cleaning up and improving which is a really great position to be in, I think.

"You don't want to be going into finals maxed out so I'm really happy with where I'm at."

with AAP

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