Queralt Castellet in action during the snowboard halfpipe final at the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics. / AFP

Spain's Queralt Castellet wins silver in snowboard halfpipe at Beijing 2022

In her fifth Winter Games, the Spaniard picked up her first Olympic medal despite losing to Chloe Kim

PABLO M. DÍEZ ZHANGJIAKOU.

Spanish snowboarder Queralt Castellet picked up her first ever Winter Olympic medal yesterday in the snowboard halfpipe event, behind the US' Chloe Kim and ahead of Japan's Sena Tomita and China's Cai Xuetong, the 2015 and 2017 world champion.

The Spaniard completed a simple but elegant routine, an approach that allowed her to win her first Olympic medal, a feat she has been chasing since her debut in Turin 2006 and which she just fell short of at Pyeongchang 2018.

Castellet initially took a more conservative approach for the first round, where she picked up a measly score of 69.25, compared to Kim's 94.

The Spaniard decided to step it up for the second round, taking advantage of Kim's overconfidence and subsequent falls, and landing all her jumps with precision and without wobbling, eventually earning herself a score of 90.25.

For her last attempt, Castellet once again showed nerves of steel and didn't miss, scoring the second-highest mark (78.25) while Tomita suffered a flamboyant fall as she attempted to take silver, while Xuetong struggled to land cleanly and was out of the podium places.

Castellet hugged both Kim and Tomita as she finally achieved what she had been working towards for 16 years, which is half of the 32-year-old's life. She was in her best-ever form, picking up a medal in every event she competed in during the last year.

Adur Etxezarreta during the men's downhill skiing event. / AFP

Other Spaniards doing a commendable job at the Winter Olympics

Despite not winning any medals, there are some Spanish athletes doing well in their disciplines. Adur Etxezarreta broke Spain’s 42-year record in men’s downhill skiing, placing 17th in the event and finishing under two seconds from a podium.

Lucas Eguibar came tantalisingly close to picking up a medal in the snowboard cross event, ending up seventh in the standings. He was “enraged” at his placing, as he revealed he had been nursing a back injury over the last few days.