Olympian Spencer O'Brien still a hero despite difficult day
Vancouver Olympian finishes 12th in slopestyle snowboard, but fans love her anyway
From Alert Bay, B.C,. to Courtenay, B.C., to Vancouver, Spencer O'Brien's fans cheered her on at three separate viewing parties Sunday as she competed for Olympic gold, but finished 12th instead in the slopestyle finals competition.
They rode with the 26-year-old Alert Bay native and Vancouver resident through every up and down.
Nearly 50 of her family and friends packed into O'Brien's Vancouver home to cheer on the first-time Olympian.
But it wasn't O'Brien's day.
The medal hopeful and reigning world champion failed to nail either one of her runs in the finals, finishing in 12th place.
Her sister Avis O'Brien says it's disappointing, but it takes courage to put yourself out there like that.
"Not the result we wanted, but she's still a hero in my mind and I am still proud of her. She is an amazing human being. An extraordinary human being."
Childhood friend Fraser MacDonald says O'Brien has nothing to be ashamed about.
"Disappointing ... but she was trying a hard run and she gave it her all."
From Sochi, O'Brien admitted she didn't have the day she was hoping for.
"I felt really good coming into the final. Obviously it just didn't come together for me today. I'm hugely disappointed."
But back home, none of her biggest fans felt let down.
Avis says she can't wait to see her sister.
"I'm going to tell her I love her and that she is a hero in my eyes."
Fans say they'll be back to cheer again in four years.
with files from the CBC's Richard Zussman