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Mixed results for Okanagan athletes at Olympics

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010 | 5:00 pm

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Summerland's Kristi Richards finished 20th in the ladies moguls final.

Summerland's Kristi Richards finished 20th in the ladies moguls final.

By Pieter Uni

Okanagan athletes have had mixed results through the first six days of the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games after Drew Neilson and Kristi Richards failed to reach the podium while Shea Weber and Duncan Keith got off to a great start with the men’s national hockey team.

Neilson and Richards both bowed out of the competition without capturing a place on the podium, despite putting in strong performances in their respective sports.

Neilson, a Vernon native, had two strong runs before being eliminated in the quarterfinals of the snowboard cross Monday. Neilson looked impressive during his morning trial before finishing second in his elimination race. But Neilson’s 2010 Games would end quickly into his quarterfinal run. Neilson crashed near the beginning of the course, knocking the 35-year-old out of medal contention. Neilson, who also crashed out in his appearance at the 2006 Games in Turin, will now finish out the snowboard cross season before determining whether or not he will return next year.

Neilson’s teammate and Summerland native Richards also had a strong early showing before a crash derailed her from reaching the podium.

Richards finished in 20th spot in the ladies moguls event after falling midway through her run in the final after she put in a solid performance in qualifying Saturday. Despite a terrific showing through the first half of the course on her final run, Richards appeared to lose control before one ski fell off, ending her bid for an Olympic medal.

While Neilson and Richards now find themselves spectators at the Vancouver Games, Weber and Keith will to continue to build on a tremendous performance that saw the Canadian men’s national hockey team dismantle Norway 8-0 in their opening game. Weber logged just under 20 minutes of ice time while taking four shots on net in a game that saw the host nation dominate from start to finish. Keith, who played with the Penticton Panthers during his junior career, played less of a role than Weber, but enjoyed a very consistent game beside Blackhawks teammate Brent Seabrook. Both Weber and Keith are back in action Thursday, when Team Canada faces Switzerland beginning at 6:30 p.m.

To follow Canadian Olympians through their journey, visit their Twitter page.

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One Response to “Mixed results for Okanagan athletes at Olympics”

  1. steve says:
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    When Kristi Richards fell on her final run, you could feel the weight of disappointment fall squarely on her shoulders. In the form of a true Olympian though, she shook it off, as easily as shaking off the snow, and put a victorious touch on her finish with an amazing aerial.

    Showing that spirit was more rare than any medal. It is something she can be proud of. That is classy. THAT is Canadian!!

    Please continue discussion on the forum: link

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