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Sunday, 10 February, 2002, 20:40 GMT

McKenna 'gutted' by failure

BBC Sport Online's Anna Thompson reports on a disappointing day for snowboarder Lesley McKenna in the women's half-pipe at the Winter Olympics.

The luck was not with Britain's Lesley McKenna at Park City.

The Scottish star put in her worst performance of the season as she failed to qualify for the final.

She fell in her first qualifying run, finishing last, and had to clinch a top six place in the second run to go through.

"I'm now looking forward to watching the rest of the Games"
British snowboarder Lesley McKenna

McKenna was sadly off her form, ending the competition in 17th place, and was in tears as her Olympics ended abruptly.

After composing herself, McKenna told BBC Sport Online: "It has been great to compete in the Olympics but I know I'm better than that.

"I caught an edge in the first run and just couldn't get going in the second.

"Everyone was riding well and all had a chance. It was just the lucky ones who got through."

Her day had got off to a bad start when Olympic organisers forced her to remove Scottish flags from her kit.

McKenna said: "I wanted to celebrate Scotland but the organisers were having none of it."

Instead, McKenna relied on noisy support from her parents, Lorna and Willie - and a strong contingent from Cairngorm Ski Club.

"It would have been beautiful if we had had an extra week's training"
McKenna's coach John Clark

And a local bagpipe band from Utah also tried to spur her on, playing Scotland the Brave and other pipe favourites.

McKenna added: "I could hear all the crowd cheering - it was wicked.

"I'm now looking forward to watching the rest of the Games."

McKenna will head to Jackson Hole in Wyoming for a few days before coming back to Salt Lake City to watch her cousins, Alain and Noel Baxter, in the slalom and giant slalom.

Her coach, John Clark, said a shoulder injury a few weeks ago had put back her training schedule.

He said: "It would have been beautiful if we had had an extra week's training and a World Cup race.

"Lesley came from crashing and injuring herself to riding in the Olympics.

"That was like Henrik Larsson coming back from a broken leg to play in the World Cup finals."

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