February 18, 2018 / 4:36 AM / 10 months ago

Olympics - Freestyle skiing: Illness no excuse for end to Boesch's 'crazy' Olympics

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea (Reuters) - Swiss freeskier Fabian Boesch refused to blame contracting norovirus for a disappointing finish to his “crazy” Olympics during qualifying for the ski slopestyle final on Sunday.

Freestyle Skiing - Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics - Men's Ski Slopestyle Qualifications - Phoenix Snow Park - Pyeongchang, South Korea - February 18, 2018 - Fabian Boesch of Switzerland reacts after run. REUTERS/Mike Blake

The 20-year-old Boesch and team mate Elias Ambuehl were the first athletes confirmed to have been hit by the highly contagious virus that affected more than 200 people, mostly security staff and Games personnel.

Both athletes were quarantined for 48 hours and missed a practice session but trained on Saturday ahead of the final.

“It didn’t impact me today. I am back 100 percent for sure,” Boesch told reporters after he finished 24th in qualifying. Only the top-12 advanced to the final. “It is heavy for the first 24 hours but then you start getting better really quick.

“I missed out on a practice day, which was not good preparation for competition but I was feeling good today.”

Ambuehl qualified in ninth along with compatriots Andri Ragettli (second) and Jonas Huzinker (12th).

Boesch had come into the Olympics 10th in the World Cup rankings, but failed to land a clean run during qualification and was frustrated with his inability to land the same rail transfer on either of his runs.

“I had a good practice and never had problems with that rail trick on top but now to make a mistake on the same rail twice, it is really disappointing,” he said.

He may not have impressed on the slopes and made the news for getting ill, but he left the Games an internet sensation after earlier posting a video of himself hanging onto the outside rail of an escalator as it climbed upward.

“It was crazy what happened with that video,” the 2015 world champion said. “I never thought it would go all over the world.

“It helped me a lot, I had a lot of positive feedback and people wishing me good luck for today.

“People said I already won the Olympics for that.”

Editing by Greg Stutchbury

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