Freestyle skier Jossi Wells just missed out on winning New Zealand's second-ever Winter Olympics medal with a fourth in the halfpipe event at Sochi this morning.
Wells was sitting in third after an opening run of 85.60 skied as snow fell at the Extreme Park halfpipe in Rosa Khutor but was pushed down to fourth before his final run when Canadian Mike Riddle scored a 90.60. Wells could produce only a 78.40 on his second effort, not enough to get into a medal spot.
4th! Ugh! Yes! Agh! Woo! Bit of all that going on right now. Real hyped how I skied!— Jossi Wells (@JossiWells) February 18, 2014
Damn... Skiing is so dope. Olympics don't make or break any of us. End of the day it's all just skiing.
& it all rules.— Jossi Wells (@JossiWells) February 18, 2014
American David Wise won gold with a 92.00 while Frenchman Kevin Rolland took bronze, three points ahead of Wells.
In the freeski halfpipe discipline, athletes are judged on the degree of difficulty, variety and execution of each trick in their overall performance runs as well as the height they get from their jumps.
"I'm feeling pretty happy,'' Wells said, despite falling just short of joining Annelise Coberger as the only New Zealanders to win Winter Olympic medlas _ Coberger won silver in the slalom at the 1992 Albertville Games. "I definitely skied the best pipe runs I've done ever.
"I'm really happy with how I skied tonight. That's what I came out here to do. I didn't have any expectation tonight. To land those runs I did I was really, really happy. To come fourth is pretty cool for me for a pipe event. I haven't really been riding a whole lot of pipe recently.''
After falling short of his own expectations in the slopestyle event, when he finished 11th despite being ranked fourth in the world, Wells said: ``I wanted some redemption and that's how it worked out.''
It was easily New Zealand's best day in Sochi.
Wells' brother Beau-James finished sixth in the same event with fellow Kiwi Lyndon Sheehan ninth after all three qualified for the final.
"I've never felt this good in my life,'' Beau-James said. "I just came sixth at the Olympics in halfpipe so I'm amazed, I'm so stoked. This is the No 1 proudest moment I've ever had. I've never felt this great before, ever.''
Kiwi flagbearer Shane Dobbin was seventh in the 10,000m speed skating event and will now return home and make a decision on his future in the sport.
Two New Zealanders are still to compete before the Winter Olympics conclude, with Janina Kuzman competing in the women's halfpipe on Friday morning (NZT) and Adam Barwood skiing in the men's slalom on Sunday morning (NZT).