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Jones bronze makes Olympic history

Jenny Jones completed a journey from chalet maid to a Winter Olympic podium today, scooping Team GB's first Sochi medal with a snowboarding bronze.

The 33-year-old Bristolian, the oldest competitor in the women's slopestyle final by six years, won the earliest British medal in a winter games, and the country's first ever on snow, on day two in Russia.

The three-times X Games gold winner, who paid her way as a young boarder by also working in a cardboard factory and a doughnut shop, was watched by her parents Helen and Peter at the side of the run in Russia and received a huge hug from her mother after her medal win was confirmed.

Afterwards the medallist said it had been a day "full of lots of emotions".

"Walking out on the podium was a fantastic experience," she said.

"I never thought it'd be in this position when I was a chalet maid. I was cooking breakfasts and cleaning toilets and just snowboarding every day and having fun.

"At the beginning it was just about snowboarding and enjoying your sport.

"It's still sinking in, the history part. Hopefully I'll be in a few pub quizzes now.

I've been snowboarding for 10 years and I've had different goals throughout that but this only came about two years ago.

"It's been a rollercoaster two years with challenges and injuries, battling through that and being where I am today is a very good feeling."

Jones' success is made all the more remarkable by the fact she was out of action for nearly a month after suffering a concussion in mid-December following a crash in training in Austria.

But she showed her experience with her best run of the week on her last attempt in the Black Sea resort.

Her score of 87.25 briefly put her top of the standings and though she was overtaken by Finland's Enni Rukajarvi (92.50), who took silver, and American eventual gold medallist Jamie Anderson (95.25), her third-place finish was seen as a wonderful achievement.

She later summed up her feelings, adding on Twitter: "Aaahhhhhh !! Did I just get bronze at the friggin Olympics!! #ridiculous".

Plans are under way for a celebration when she returns to her home city in the West Country, with mayor George Ferguson saying she should receive a "snowy and spectacular" welcome.

Her performance delighted other British sports stars. British Olympic heptathlon gold medallist Jessica Ennis-Hill tweeted: "Amazing @jennyjonessnow I was gripped!!"

And Wimbledon champion Andy Murray tweeted after Jones's run: "Jenny jones! Is it wrong to hope everyone left falls?"

British competitors have been set a target of seven medals at Sochi by UK Sport, almost double their previous best.

Previous wins have taken place in ice events, including Torvill and Dean's ice dance gold in Sarajevo in 1984 and Amy Williams skeleton bobsleigh win in Vancouver in 2010.

Skier Alain Baxter finished third in the men's slalom in Salt Lake City in 2002 but was stripped of his bronze after failing a drugs test.

Although the Scot from Aviemore in the Highlands was subsequently cleared by the Court of Arbitration for Sport his medal was not returned.


From Belfast Telegraph