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Last Updated: Friday, 17 February 2006, 08:58 GMT
Gillings set for snowboard cross
By Anna Thompson
BBC Sport at the Winter Olympics

Zoe Gillings
The unpredictability of snowboard cross is what makes it good and bad
Great Britain's Zoe Gillings

It's fast and furious and it has made its Winter Olympics debut.

Snowboard cross is similar to motocross and involves competitors racing against each other at speed down a challenging course of jumps and obstacles.

It was the men's turn on Thursday, with the women's competition taking place on Friday, featuring Britain's Zoe Gillings.

The 20-year-old from the Isle of Man has a World Cup race victory to her name and was ranked fourth in the world at the end of last season.

But a bad foot injury during filming for a commercial laid her up for six months and she is just getting back to form.

Gillings told BBC Sport: "Snowboard cross is really fun to watch and really fun to do. It's very exciting.

"The unpredictability of snowboard cross is what makes it good and bad. You never really know what is going to happen on the day.

"You can be riding along and be going really well, faster than anyone else, someone else hits you, they fall over, you fall over and you are out of the race and there's nothing you can do about it."

Snowboard cross courses vary, but Gillings said the Olympic one in Bardonecchia is particularly brutal.

"It looks gnarly but it is what I expected it to be like. They needed it to be big and impressive looking."

For the first two runs, the competitors race alone against the clock and the top 16 then go in heats of four, with the fastest two in each heat going through to the semi-final and then the final.

Gillings, who has been snowboarding since the age of 10, will be cheered on by her parents, grandparents and brothers and hopes not to let them down.

"I'm here to do as best as I can - my ultimate goal is to be happy with my performance," she said.

"If I've done everything I possibly can, I will be happy with it."




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