- Freestyle Skiing
Australia's Dale Begg-Smith's Olympics end with a crash
ROSA KHUTOR, Russia - Australia's enigmatic Dale Begg-Smith bowed out of his third Winter Games with a wipeout in the heats of the men's freestyle skiing moguls on Monday, bringing an end to a career that brought him Olympic gold and silver medals.
The 29-year-old Internet tycoon won the moguls for his adopted country in 2006 and silver in his birth city of Vancouver four years later before dropping off the radar so completely for three years that he was dubbed a recluse.
Returning to competition last year, he managed to qualify for Sochi with the help of an Australian winter sports programme he joined with his brother after leaving Canada as a teenager.
On Monday, though, his dreams of a third Olympic medal came to an end at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park moguls run when he failed to execute a rotation in second qualifying and ended up face first into the slushy snow.
"I just wasn't feeling it tonight," he told reporters. "The snow was soft and I haven't skied on soft snow for four years. I wasn't feeling it, I just got a little bit off.
"There wasn't much I could do when I was on my face ... I'm going to go and relax my neck a little, it's a little bit stiff."
It was a rare appearance before the media for millionaire Begg-Smith.
His reclusiveness - he lives mainly in the Cayman Islands - is more often than not linked to a highly lucrative Internet business he runs with his brother that was the driving force for his move to Australia.
Leaving the intensive Canadian winter sports programme for Australia's smaller operation would, he thought, allow him more time to focus on the business.
Reports in Australia about the nature of the company resulted in him being nicknamed "Spam Man" by local media, though, and it now looks likely that he will now depart the limelight for good.
A firm "No" answered a query over whether he would compete again and he was similarly elusive about his future plans.
"I'm an international man of mystery, I will keep you all guessing," he said.
That said, he had no regrets about attempting the comeback.
"When I first came back I didn't know if I could ski at all," he said.
"It was a desperate move to come back this year. I was looking for a miraculous performance.
"It was fun coming back and I'm glad I went out on my own terms. I messed up."
Best of Sochi