Kelsey Serwa (C) of Canada celebrates winning the gold medal with silver medallist Brittany Phelan (L) of Canada and bronze medallist Fanny Smith of Switzerland during the victory ceremony for the Freestyle Skiing Ladies' Ski Cross Big Final
Kelsey Serwa continued Canada’s dominance in the women’s ski cross when taking gold ahead of compatriot Brittany Phelan.
A Canadian athlete has won the women’s event since its Olympic debut in 2010, and on this occasion Serwa dominated the final to upgrade the silver she won four years ago in Sochi.
And while Serwa pulled away in the showdown race, a battle ensued behind her – Phelan rallied to ensure it was a Canada 1-2, while Sweden’s Sandra Naeslund, the reigning world champion, missed out on a medal as Switzerland’s Fanny Smith took bronze.
Meanwhile, Team GB’s Emily Sarsfield exited at the quarter-final stage, having benefited from a crash in her heat to qualify.
A thrilling ski cross event started with Canada’s Marielle Thompson seeing her title defence last all of 10 seconds, with the Sochi 2014 gold medallist crashing out in the first 1/8 final.
Defending champion Marielle Thompson crashed out in the first race of the day
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Thompson had set the fastest time during seeding earlier in the day, but her abrupt fall allowed Lisa Andersson and Talina Gantenbein to qualify and blow the competition wide open.
Further drama saw Thompson’s compatriot India Sherret require medical attention after a crash in the sixth 1/8 final, which in turn allowed Sarsfield to qualify for the quarter-finals.
The upsets kept on coming with 2015 world champion Andrea Limbacher going down in the first quarter, while Sarsfield went on to exit the event after finishing last in the third quarter.
With eight skiers remaining, Naeslund and Smith breezed through the first semi-final, while Canadian duo Serwa and Phelan joined them in the gold-medal showdown after France’s Alizee Baron missed a gate.
Alizee Baron of France, Kelsey Serwa of Canada, Brittany Phelan of Canada and Sanna Luedi of Switzerland compete during the Freestyle Skiing Ladies' Ski Cross Semi Finals
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The small final saw Baron cross over in first to claim fifth place, but attention soon turned to the big final and the fight for gold.
After a close start, Serwa moved clear while the trio behind her tried to squeeze one another out of contention, and it was Phelan who capitalised on some pushing between Naeslund and Smith to move into second.
Serwa ultimately crossed the line 0.53 seconds ahead of Phelan, while Smith edged the bronze, 1.40secs off the pace, but crucially just 0.06secs ahead of Naeslund.
Kelsey Serwa of Canada celebrates winning the gold medal from silver medallist Brittany Phelan