Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 23 September 2014

High five for James Woods after injury nightmare

Lift-off: James Woods finished fifth despite battling injury

JAMES Woods has revealed he contemplated withdrawing from the Winter Olympics ski slopestyle because of a hip injury, but was proud he persevered after sealing a top-five finish.

Woods had been struggling for fitness after an awkward fall last Friday and freely admitted he would enter the event, which is making its Games debut in Sochi, at less than 100 per cent.

The Yorkshireman breezed into the final, qualifying third, although doubts lingered when he pulled up in his second run.

He put down another excellent run in the showpiece event, earning a score of 86.60 that briefly put him in the medal positions, but could not better it second time around and finished in fifth place.

It vindicated his decision to continue although Woods revealed he had considered pulling out.

"It's fair to say there maybe were a couple of times when I thought that," he said.

"There were certainly a couple of times where I thought 'I'm not sure I can carry on'.

"So much goes into every single movement, it does really hurt.

"But the doctors, the physios, my coach Pat (Sharples), and everyone back in the UK, have been so behind me, it'd have been pretty rubbish for me to wuss out now.

"I'm a bit sore but ultimately very, very happy and proud to have been representing Great Britain in such an incredible event."

Joss Christensen won gold with a score of 95.80 as the United States enjoyed a clean sweep of medals, with Gus Kenworthy (93.60) and Nick Goepper (92.40) earning silver and bronze respectively, while Andreas Haatveit of Norway (91.80) was fourth.

"The standard was absolutely sublime," Woods added.

"Fifth place at the Olympics, four of my best mates up in front of me, probably shouldn't have even have been skiing – so it's not bad."

The 22-year-old from Sheffield refused to speculate whether he would have been in contention had he been 100 per cent fit.

"I'm not putting anything out there," he said.

"I love skiing, I love what I'm doing, I certainly didn't bring my best game to the table but I'm incredibly proud to be here.

"I know what I'm good at, I know I was pretty clean and I was happy with it.

"I'm very proud of myself for what I've done throughout all my skiing and as far as I'm concerned I'm only just getting started," he added.

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