From James Toney in Sochi
KESTON’S Aimee Fuller watched team-mate Jenny Jones become Britain’s first-ever Olympic medallist on snow and vowed that next time would be her time.
Fuller, 22, failed to make the final at the snowboard slopestyle in Sochi after placing ninth in the semis but was among the first to congratulate Jones, who went on to claim bronze in thrilling style.
Much was made of British hopes of ending a 90-year run without a medal on the white stuff in Sochi, but it was the teenage Fridge Kids, so dubbed because they learned their skills at the UK’s indoor snow domes, which were expected to deliver.
Instead it was 33-year old snowboarder Jones who proved even in a sport designed for the X-Box generation, there are still some new tricks that old timers know.
“Jenny Jones is amazing, she’s a legend in the sport and I’m so proud of her and I’m so proud to be her team-mate,” said Fuller.
“Jenny’s been a good friend to me ever since I started competing, she is a genuinely lovely person and I’m just so happy that she will get this recognition now for all she has done.
“She’s the pioneer of women's snowboarding. She put it on the map for the UK and proved it was possible and that a bunch of Brits can compete against the world’s best.
“It feels incredible to have a British snowboarder with an Olympic medal, I want one now.”
Fuller delivered on her promise to “go big” and nearly pulled off her trademark double back flip but a slight error on landing meant she ranked ninth in the semi-final, with only the top four progressing to join the eight riders who advanced directly from the qualifiers.
However, she had no complaints about her Olympic experience, which included a debut in the BBC commentary box and a royal audience with Princess Anne.
Fuller said: “I laid all my cards down on the table and went for it but it didn’t quite work out.
“I thought I’d go big or go home, it's the Olympics, the biggest contest on earth. I’m walking away happy and I’ve enjoyed my Olympic experience.
“I landed the double back flip but I put my hand down landing and I had to miss the last jump.
“It’s unfortunate but I had to treat this as a building block for the next one.”
She added: “It’s the first time I’ve competed on a stage this week and it’s an honour.
“I’m just excited for the next contest and I need to build on it from here.
“The support I’ve had from home has been incredible, I can’t believe I made the front page of the Telegraph the other day. That’s radical.
“I’m just looking forward to getting home now and seeing my buddies, it’s been nine weeks on the road and I need some home comforts.”
Fuller was supported by her grandparents in Sochi – and she is taking inspiration not just from Jones but from her Nan, who still careers down the slopes aged 76.
“She’s is pretty cool lady, she’s a great role model for me, she’s the most on it Nan ever,” she joked.
“She’s on Twitter, Whatsapp, Skype and she’s trekked all the way over here to support me.
“If I carry on like her perhaps I’ve got another eight Olympics in me.”
Meanwhile, Jones claimed Fuller, who recently earned an invite to the prestigious X Games, has a big future in the sport.
“I’ve been hanging on for these Games but with people like Aimee it’s a really bright future for British snowboarding,” she said.
“She’s a great person to have around.
“The British team is a pretty young but I don’t feel like an old lady, they’re a lovely bunch and they keep me young and allow me out late to party every now and then.”
On Sunday night the party was going on well into the early hours – and Fuller was leading the way.
Samsung are a proud partner of Team GB and are supporting the Samsung Galaxy Team.
To meet the team, see exclusive content and win amazing prizes, including once-in-a-lifetime winter sport training sessions with the Samsung Galaxy Team athletes, visit samsung.com/uk/sochi2014
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