Team GB win gold on penultimate day at Friuli Venezia Giulia 2023

Snowboarder Charlie Lane won slopestyle gold on day six at the Friuli Venezia Giulia 2023 Winter European Youth Olympic Festival (EYOF).

His success today makes him Team GB’s first double medallist at a Winter EYOF in 24 years, after he landed silver in the big air earlier in the competition. The only other Team GB athlete in history to achieve the feat is alpine skier Chemmy Alcott, who picked up silver and bronze at the Poprad-Tatry 1999 Winter EYOF before going on to represent Team GB at four consecutive Winter Olympics.

Lane secured today’s victory with a best score of 89.00, putting him more than four points clear of his nearest rival. He took his place on the podium alongside Italy’s Grassis with silver and France’s Merimee Mantovani with bronze.

Lane said: “It feels amazing to win gold. It’s quite an insane feeling, I couldn’t believe it at first – it just doesn’t feel real. I looked at the scoreboard as the last rider came down and I was still in first. It it was just crazy to me and I was just full of so much joy. When I was out there I was just trying to keep myself calm, not think about it too much and ride the course as if it was a training run and not a competition and that really helped with my mindset in the moment. It’s been a fantastic week, an experience I’m going to remember for the rest of my life, and I couldn’t ask for more.”

Teammate Amber Fennell lined up for the girls’ slopestyle final after a jam-packed week of competition that saw her claim fourth place in the big air. Though she missed out on a podium spot in today’s event, she had plenty of cause for celebration after being selected to carry the union flag at tomorrow night’s Closing Ceremony alongside short track speed skater Willem Murray, whose EYOF journey has seen him land three new personal bests. Both athletes were chosen for the honour by Team GB Chef de Mission Pete Ambrose for best displaying the Team GB values of pride, unity, responsibility and respect throughout the competition.

Fennell said: “It’s absolutely amazing to be selected as flagbearer. I was a little bit shocked when I found out, I didn’t really expect it! It’s not just a proud moment for me, I’m so proud of my teammates as well for how they’ve performed, I’ve grown up with so many of them and to see them excel as well makes me so happy. I’ve absolutely loved my EYOF experience, it’s been amazing to really push myself to the limit. I’m so happy to be able to finish the week as the one carrying that flag, and to have Charlie there with his gold and silver as well.”

Murray said: “I’m super proud to be able to carry the flag at the Closing Ceremony! It’s been such a great experience this past week and to finish with this opportunity is a highlight for me. It’ll be a nice way to end the week on a high.”

Elsewhere on day six, Arabella Sear-Watkins returned to the ice for the girls’ free skating segment to follow Wednesday’s short program. Today’s score of 71.21 gave her a final total of 112.65, landing her a top twenty finish. The podium places ultimately went to Finland’s Karhunen, Italy’s Pezzetta, and Poland’s Streuli who took gold, silver and bronze respectively.

Today also saw alpine skiers Luca Carrick-Smith and George Black make their second EYOF outing in the boys’ giant slalom, with two successful runs apiece landing both boys inside the top 30 out of a field of 100. With the ninth fastest time in his second run, Carrick-Smith’s combined total placed him less than four seconds behind the leader to finish in 21st position overall, while Black finished just 1.12 seconds later to take 28th.

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