Maelle Ricker crashes in Olympic quarterfinal, finishes 21st
The 35-year-old from North Vancouver was a favourite to medal, despite her fractured forearm
Family and friends of Maëlle Ricker say the injured Canadian snowboarder is still a champion, despite her Olympic dreams crashing to an end on Sunday.
Ricker placed 21st after falling twice during the women's snowboard cross quarterfinal heat at the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia.
Ricker's mom, who was watching from Furry Creek, B.C., said it wasn't the finish she was hoping for but she's proud of her daughter.
"Maëlle has worked extremely hard. I mean, very conscientious about going to the gym, doing workouts, going out and training all the time. She is no slouch," said Nancy Ricker.
"I admire her, I really do. And she loves the sport and she loves being outdoors."
Competing despite injury
Less than three weeks ago, Ricker fractured her left forearm during a training session in Aspen, Colo., and had to undergo surgery. She left for Sochi with her arm still in a cast.
Nancy Ricker says she's glad her daughter wasn't hurt again during her quarterfinal crashes.
"It doesn't appear that she was injured anymore than what she has already been injured, so for that reason I am happy," said Nancy Ricker.
Ricker's former high school English teacher, who was also watching from the family's Furry Creek home, agrees.
"Everyone was really pulling for her, but as we all said, Maëlle already is a champion. And the fact she got the Olympics and is competing as well as she did with ... a serious arm injury, we were just amazed that she was able to go through and do well," said Roberta Dixon.
Another Olympic run?
This was the fourth Winter Olympic Games for the 35-year-old from North Vancouver. She became the first Canadian female to win gold on home soil during the 2010 Games in Vancouver, and was a favourite to medal again at this year's Olympics in Sochi.
The question now is whether or not Ricker will attempt the podium again at the 2018 Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
"I think she'll still want to be involved in snowboarding in some capacity. I just don't know how," said Nancy Ricker.
"I suspect it will be her last Olympics, but I don't know that for sure."
Czech Republic took gold in Sunday's women's snowboard cross event, and Canada's Dominique Maltais of Quebec took silver.
With files from CBC's Richard Zussman