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Red lipstick and purple underwear – the lucky talismans of Canadian halfpipe favourite Roz Groenewoud – failed to work their magic at Sochi.
Groenewoud, who had been heavily favoured for a medal, finished seventh Thursday night. She crashed in the first of her two final runs and performed far better in her second. But the better run was wholly inadequate to land her on the podium. "Just being at the Olympics wasn't my goal," she said. "My goal was to ski in a way that I was proud of and I didn't do that tonight."
Known as Roz G, the 24-year-old Calgarian indulges her superstitions by always wearing bright red lipstick, purple underwear and purple hair elastics in competitions. The red-and-purple routine have brought her ample luck in competitions.
In 2012, the same year that her friend and halfpipe mentor Sarah Burke died in a training accident, she was the halfpipe champion in the X Games. She won the same title the same year in X Games Europe. Last month, just five weeks after undergoing double knee surgery, she won silver at the X Games.
Luckier, and perhaps more skilled, was Maddie Brown of the United States, who won gold. The medal means that the Americans have won a medal in all four new Olympic events in freestyle skiing – the men's and ladies' ski halfpipe and the men's and ladies' ski slopestyle.
Marie Martinod of France took the silver and Japan's Ayana Onozuka won bronze.
The Canadian men had a rough go on the same mountain earlier in the day, in the ski cross race. Three Canadians were seeded near the top of the pack in a race that thrills audiences with its crashes and collisions and ramps that send the four duelling competitor soaring through the air.
One of them, Brady Leman of Calgary, made it into the final. But coming from behind not far from the end of the race in a bid for a medal, he got tangled with another skier and went down.
In a clean sweep, the medals all went to France. Jean Frederic Chapuis won gold, Arnaud Boloventa silver and Jonathan Midol bronze.
No, the French trio did not conspire to shut out poor Leman. "We didn't have a strategy," Chapuis said. "There are three places for the podium, there is one loser place. We are friends off the slopes, but on the slopes we are enemies, so I tried to make my best."
Leman, 27, was close to morose. "I feel I belong on the podium and that's what I expected for myself," he said. "I had the confidence to go for the win in the final."