Vuokatti 2022: day four review

It was the penultimate day of competition at the Vuokatti 2022 European Youth Olympic Festival (EYOF), with British athletes in action in alpine skiing, figure skating and snowboarding.

At Vuokatti Arena, Ed Appleby secured fourth place in men’s figure skating, finishing 1.30 points behind bronze medalist Casper Johansson of Sweden.

Appleby, who was third after yesterday’s short program, scored 115.88 in the free skate, leaving him with a combined total score of 184.46 – fourth highest in the 17-man field. Estonian Arlet Levandi won the gold medal, with a resounding score of 209.54.

Despite falling one spot in the standings, Appleby was in a reflective mood after the competition. He said: “I’m definitely happy – if someone told me coming into the event that I’d be in the top five – I’d be delighted. I’m glad it showed all the effort we put into training, which was all I wanted to do here.

“I’m irritated by the individual mistakes, but I’m happy with both skates and grateful for the opportunity I had to compete in the EYOF and represent my country.

“The hope now is to be ready for 2026 (Milan-Cortina Winter Olympics). That’s the one I’d like to push because I’ll be around 21 by the time of the Olympics, so probably at the top of my career. I’m going to do junior competitions a bit longer, fully transition to seniors, and then I can work towards realizing my dream.

In the women’s event, Elena Komova, who was in 12th place after the short program, recorded a score of 73.77 in the free skate, to give her an overall score of 118.02 and finish 18th.

Koby Cook returned to competition in his chosen discipline – slopestyle snowboarding – earning a credible fifth place in one of his first major international competitions in three years.

Two qualifying heats were held in the morning, with the top six riders from each heat qualifying for the final under the lights of the Vuokatti tracks.

The snowboarder blasted his way through the waves in sixth place with a score of 65.25 on his second qualifying run. The Yorkshireman then completed a clear round of 67.50 in the final to clinch fifth position.

Cook, who was only 2.50 points off the podium himself, said: “I’m very happy with it. I’m glad there were more rails than jumps on the course, because I prefer rails, so it was more in my favor. I didn’t expect fifth place at all – I didn’t even expect to go to the final, so I’m really happy about that.

“Slopestyle was 60% rails and 40% jumps, so I tried to go with a more technical rail line to try to score more points. These are all tricks I could do fairly consistently and I tried to go big on the tricks to score as many points as possible.

“If you don’t get it on your first run, it adds a bit of pressure going into the second run, which happened today. But I put my music on to get into a happy, light beat and get in the zone.

Looking to the future, Cook said: “I will look to keep improving and learning new tricks. The more I participate in competitions, the higher I can go up the rankings and I hope that when the next Olympics come around, I can qualify for it.

It was a disappointment for Alexa Elliff, Isla Ward, Aidan Urquhart and Ted Slade in the parallel slalom team event. The British team, who were seeded 8th at the start of the competition, lost to 9th-seeded Poland in the Round of 16, losing in two of their four races.

The quartet returns to action tomorrow in the individual parallel final. Adam Hill is the only other British athlete to compete on the final day of Vuokatti 2022, where he competes in the 1000m short track speedskate.

Find out more about Vuokatti 2022, including schedule and live stream details here.

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