Lonsdale calls it quits

Burnley and Pendle Citizen: Emma Lonsdale Emma Lonsdale

British freestyle skier Emma Lonsdale missed out on a place in the women's halfpipe finals and promptly announced: "I'm retiring".

The 29-year-old from Yorkshire put down two solid, if unspectacular, runs but scores of 53.80 and 53.20 saw her finish 18th, with only the top 12 qualifying for Thursday night's showpiece event.

She will be 33 before the next Games in Pyeongchang and admitted she contemplated retirement two years ago before ski halfpipe was added to the Olympics schedule, which persuaded her to carry on.

But now that her campaign is over, she wasted no time in ending her career.

"That's it now, I'm retiring," she said.

"I was going to retire two years ago and then it became an Olympic discipline, and I thought I might as well give it one last push and leave on a high rather than fading away.

"I thought I might as well make the Olympics and then retire."

While Lonsdale, who was an alpine skier for 16 years before switching to moguls and then the halfpipe, is turning her back on competing, she does want to remain part of the Team GB set-up in some capacity.

"I'd like to stay involved with the team, I might do my coaching qualifications, I'm not sure yet," she added.

Lonsdale was proud of the way she bowed out on the biggest stage at an event that is making its debut at a Winter Games, but revealed everything did not go to plan.

"I'm pretty happy, it's been quite a rollercoaster," she said.

"I was very excited and very happy to be here. I didn't ski my very best, I missed a few grabs which isn't ideal but I tried my hardest.

"Under quite a bit of pressure I'm happy with my skiing. I don't think I embarrassed myself."

Lonsdale was cheered on at the top of her run by 18-year-old team-mate Rowan Cheshire, who was supposed to be taking part on Thursday but had to withdraw after suffering concussion in a training crash on Sunday.

Lonsdale paid tribute to Cheshire with a message written on her hand, and added: "She's chief in charge of making us brews and taking photos."

Marie Martinod of France topped qualifying with a score off 88.40, with reigning two-time Winter X Games gold medallist in the superpipe Maddie Bowman finishing third, while reigning world champion Virginie Faivre came seventh.

Australian Amy Sheehan sealed the final qualifying spot with a score of 70.60.

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