JAMIE Nicholls could be forgiven for thinking he may have unknowingly crossed paths with a black cat or walked under a ladder in the run-up to the Winter Olympics in South Korea.

In the best shape of his life, the Halifax snowboarder was the first Briton up on day one of the PyeongChang Games in the slopestyle.

He needed to finish inside the top six to make the final but a fall on his second run meant he could not better his opening score of 71.56 – a run viewed by many, including Sochi 2014 bronze medallist Jenny Jones, to have been judged too harshly – and he finished eighth.

That disappointment came just 48 hours after his cousin and British medal hope Katie Ormerod, from Brighouse, was also ruled out through injury.

The frustration was plain to see for Nicholls, who lay flat on his back on the snow for several moments after his hopes of improving on his sixth-place finish from Sochi went up in smoke.

He said: "The whole practice and in the lead-up, in training, I felt so confident. The right mindset, feeling really good about my snowboarding, better than I have throughout my whole career.

"I was going to step it up on my second run and do my big trick at the end which I did in practice. Unfortunately in the end it didn't happen.

"I was actually a bit gutted about my score on the first run. I was thinking mid-70s, which was what I was hoping for with that kind of run, judging on what some of the other guys did and tricks on the jumps.

"I thought my top section was really strong – but obviously it wasn't to be."

Now joined in PyeongChang by his wife and sister, Nicholls will regroup this week before the big air competition on February 21.

He will also be in contact with his cousin, admitting he had shed his own tears of disappointment when she sustained a fractured heel in training which required surgery.

Nicholls said: "I was right behind Katie when it happened. I saw her slip off the rail and hit the knuckle.

"She'd just done her arm the day before. It was so unlucky. First run, first hit and then done – and that was the rail I was using on my runs as well.

"I wasn't thinking about the rail though on my run. I was more thinking I want to do this for Katie.

"It's just so unlucky. It's like getting hit by a car, I guess. That's the odds.

"She texted me after my first run saying 'good work and keep it up'. It's just a shame that I couldn't do it on my second run."

* Watch Jamie Nicholls in the men's big air qualifications on Wednesday, February 21 on Eurosport 1 (RX) and Eurosport Player. Don't miss a moment of the Olympic Winter Games on Eurosport and Eurosport Player. Go to www.Eurosport.co.uk.