Snowboarder Alexandra Zhekova, seen before the start of the Winter Games in Sochi as Bulgaria’s best chance for an Olympic medal, finished fifth in the women’s snowboard cross final on February 16.
Zhekova qualified without too much difficulty for the big final, finishing runner-up to Canadian Dominique Maltais in both the quarterfinal and semifinal.
In the medal race, Zhekova ran third for most of the race, but a collision with Italy’s Michela Moioli – who appeared to cut into Zhekova’s path in the final turn – left both competitors down. Zhekova got up and finished the race fifth, the best finishing position for a Bulgarian athlete at the Sochi games.
This is the second time Zhekova’s hopes for an Olympic medal have been dashed by a fall. In Vancouver, she fell during her a practice run, aggravating an old injury and had to pull out of the Games, unable to complete her qualification runs.
The gold went to Czech Eva Samková, with Canada’s Maltais taking silver and France’s Chloé Trespeuch all but gifted the bronze medal.