A ‘role model’ choice on the historic Paralympic podium by British teammate Hill
By Will Jennings in Beijing
Owen Pick missed a historic Paralympic medal by just 0.19 seconds on a brilliant day for British snowboarding in Beijing.
Pick, from Red Lodge near Newmarket, finished fourth in his SB-LL2 banked slalom event as teammate Ollie Hill became the first British resident to claim a Paralympic podium spot.
The 30-year-old military veteran clocked a fine first time of 1:10.64 but Pick, 32, propelled him to the podium as a run of 1:10.45 proved enough for a memorable bronze medal.
Hill, who had his right leg amputated in 2018 and only joined the GB Snowsport setup in 2020, said: “I know Owen did his best – he did everything in both sleeves.
“We both knew we were going to have to have a good first run each, and that’s what we did.
“Fourth is always the worst place to come in some ways because you’re so close to the silverware.
“But at the same time, it’s not the end of the road – if he wants to continue, I’m sure he will, and we will continue to perform and continue as a team.
“There are days when he beats me, there are days when I do better and today was obviously my day.”
Pick, who carried the British flag at PyeongChang 2018, took an admirable ninth place in his first snowboard cross event on Monday.
The technically challenging banked slalom was brought forward 24 hours due to scorching Beijing conditions, but Pick kept his composure to deliver a brilliant first run.
His time catapulted him into the race, but it wasn’t enough for a medal as home favorite Qi Sun took gold ahead of Finnish outfielder Matti Suur-Hamari.
British star Hill took the final podium spot and he admits it wouldn’t have been possible without Pick’s experienced Paralympic influence.
“Without him, I wouldn’t even be here,” added Hill, who along with Pick is one of more than 1,000 athletes able to train full-time, have access to the best coaches in the world and to benefit from pioneering technology, science and medical support thanks to vital funding from the National Lottery.
“Without him, none of us would be here, so I can never deny my love for him.
“He’s a role model – he’s always there for me, just supportive of me and my journey and if it were the other way around I’d be just as thrilled for him as he is for me.
“He’s already come over to give me a big hug and congratulated me, and that’s the kind of love you have for snowboarding over other sports.
“I’m really grateful to be part of this dynamic team.”
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