Jenny Jones won Great Britain’s first medal at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, and the first ever on snow, after a superb run in the women’s snowboard slopestyle event earned her bronze.
At 33, Jones was the oldest entrant in the final, but she showed her experience with her best run of the week on her last attempt.
Her score of 87.25 briefly put her top of the standings and although she was overtaken by Finland’s Enni Rukajarvi (92.50), who took silver, and gold medallist Jamie Anderson (95.25), her third-place finish is a wonderful achievement.
Jones’ bronze on the second day of the competition is Britain’s earliest medal in the Winter Olympics.
Jones was considered as a medal chance at the first ever snowboard slopestyle event, but hopes appeared slim after she failed to qualify automatically for the final on Thursday.
She earned her route to the showpiece event with a third-place finish in the semi-final on Sunday morning.
She was fifth after the first run in the final, but then a clean, near flawless, second attempt gave her a genuine chance of a medal.
“It feels amazing,” Jones told BBC Sport. “I cannot believe it, I just can’t believe it.
“I knew I was going to drop but I didn’t know how far. I am just so happy.
“It was so difficult waiting. I thought I did my best run and landed it as best as I could. With the course the way it was, I did my best run.”
Jones, who was making her Olympic debut, added: “I feel absolutely ecstatic, I’m so chuffed to have made it on to that podium.”
Jones was the second competitor to come out for the 12-person final, which meant, after landing her run, she had an agonising wait to discover where she would finish.
“I was only the second person to drop and there were so many more girls, so I absolutely knew I would drop down, but it was just a question of how much,” she said.
“When the last girl went, I just went ‘Oh my God, oh my God, I am on the podium’.”
Liz Nicholl, UK Sport chief executive, was among those to offer her congratulations to Jones.
She said: “UK Sport is hugely proud to have supported Jenny Jones as a member of our National Lottery funded World Class Performance Programme. It’s wonderful to see all the hard work and dedication of Jenny, her coach and support staff, realised when it mattered the most.
“Jenny Jones winning a historic first British Olympic medal on snow, in the new Slopestyle Snowboarding discipline, will create a huge sense of excitement and momentum within the team.
“UK Sport has invested over Â£14 million of National Lottery and Government funding into athletes representing Great Britain at the Sochi Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, and set a target of winning at least three Olympic medals, and Jenny has got the team off to a sensational start.”
Britain’s Alain Baxter was awarded bronze in the men’s slalom at Real Salt Lake in 2002, but was subsequently stripped of his medal for an alleged doping offence.
Sunday’s success is richly deserved for Jones, who exploded on to the scene in 1999 by winning the first of five British Snowboarding Championships.
Jones has gone on to win gold in the prestigious Winter X Games on three occasions, but has had to fund herself by taking a variety of odd jobs, including working in a cardboard factory and a doughnut shop.
“It feels ridiculous, I still can’t actually believe it,” she said.
“I just thought ‘Oh my goodness, it’s gone my way today’, and I couldn’t be more grateful.”