Canada’s Dominique Maltais saw the Sochi Olympics as a chance to redeem herself.
The 33-year-old rider from Petite-Riviere-St-Francois, Que., won a silver medal in women’s snowboard cross on Sunday, a vast improvement from her 20th place finish at the 2010 Vancouver Games.
Maltais had won bronze at the 2006 Turin Olympics and was considered a medal favourite heading to Vancouver, but crashed out of competition.
“It’s a good revenge for Vancouver,” said Maltais on Sunday. “I wanted to prove to the world that I could do better than in Vancouver.”
She added: “I’m so so happy it’s done and I made it and I finished on the podium.”
Maltais finished well back of the Czech Republic’s Eva Samkova on a mild, sunny afternoon at Rosa Khutor Extreme Park. France’s Chloe Trespeuch was third.
The Canadian was confident that she would win a medal when she arrived in Russia.
“As soon as I got here I knew I was in the place where I should be,” said Maltais. “I was so emotional.”
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Samkova was dominant throughout the event, placing first in her quarter-final and semifinal heats, as well as the final.
Maltais won her quarter-final heat easily, but had a much more dramatic finish in the semis. She was jostling for third when American Lindsey Jacobellis — who was well ahead of the pack — fell.
Maltais dodged the rolling Jacobellis to win the semifinal and earn her way in to the final.
Jacobellis was not the only rider to crash on the tough course.
Russian skicross racer Maria Komissarova sustained a severe spinal injury on Saturday during training and several snowboarders were injured on Sunday.
Jackie Hernandez of the U.S. sustained a concussion after smacking her head into the snow during qualifying. She was treated and released but was unable to compete in the elimination rounds.
Helene Olafsen of Norway hurt her knee during qualifying and needed to be taken off the mountain on a stretcher.
There were a series of falls once the riders found themselves riding six-across. Defending Olympic champion Maelle Ricker of West Vancouver, B.C., went down in the quarter-finals trying to make an aggressive pass in a turn.
It has been a frustrating season for Ricker — she suffered a wrist injury last month that required surgery.
With files from The Associated Press