GB make history at Snowboarding World Championship with mixed gold
Charlotte Bankes and Huw Nightingale made yet more winter sport history for Great Britain when they claimed the country’s maiden mixed team snowboard cross gold at the World Championships in Bakuriani, Georgia.
It was a redemptive morning for the pair who both endured disappointment on Wednesday.
Defending women’s world snowcross champion Bankes crashed out of the heats while Nightingale was among the bottom of the pack in the men’s competition, but they were celebrating gold a day later.
Bankes said: “It was a crazy race in tough conditions but we managed it really well thanks to the team around us. We both rode at our best today, like we’ve been riding in training and that’s just amazing to be able to come away with the gold medal together.
“The team put us in the best conditions. I’m so pleased that we were able to stick it down today.”
Bankes, 27, and Nightingale, 21, finished sixth in team snowboard cross at the Beijing Olympic Winter Games last year.
Nightingale added of Thursday’s triumph: “It’s unbelievable. I can’t really describe it right now to be honest. It’s just so fulfilling.”
Nightingale took an early lead in the first leg of the four-team big final, which became a three-man race after the United States’ Nick Baumgartner fell to leave the Briton, Austria’s Jakob Dusek, and France’s Merlin Surget in a neck-and-neck battle.
Dusek, who claimed the men’s individual title on Wednesday, overtook Nightingale and by the end of the leg there were just 0.07 seconds separating Nightingale in third and the Austrian, who crossed first.
That meant it was all to play for in the women’s race for Bankes – who in 2018 switched allegiances from France to Great Britain.
She took a narrow lead at the top of the hill over former French team-mate Chloe Trespeuch and Austrian Pia Zerkhold, extending it to over a second as she approached the final strait.
Bankes’ challengers narrowed the gap but it was not enough to beat the Briton, who finished 0.88s ahead of Zerkhold and 1.08s faster than the Frenchwoman.
GB Snowsport head coach Pat Sharples said: “It’s sort of hard to put today into words. After the disappointment of yesterday, today’s win for Charlotte and Huw makes it even more special.
“Huw performed at his absolute best we’ve ever seen him in competition and shown he’s going to be a big contender in this sport for many years to come!
“Charlotte Bankes once again proved she’s the best in the world. Huge props to the team behind the team; the coaches and support staff. Every one of them deserves this win.”