Winter Olympics: Rocket Ryding secures top ten slalom finish

Yahoo Sport UK
Dave Ryding achieves career-best, top ten finish for Team GB in the slalom at Winter Olympics 2018
Dave Ryding achieves career-best, top ten finish for Team GB in the slalom at Winter Olympics 2018

Dave Ryding vowed to be on the podium in four years time after achieving Great Britain’s best Olympic alpine skiing result for 30 years, writes Pippa Field in PyeongChang.

The man referred to as the Rocket finished ninth in the men’s slalom, falling just shy of Martin Bell’s eighth in the downhill at Calgary 1988.

After a solid enough first run which left him 13th, the Brit promised to turn on the afterburners in his second but a couple of costly errors meant the charge did not materialise – his second run actually being slower.

But his time of 1:40.16 was enough to lift him up the field and into a single-digit placing as Norwegian first-run leader Henrik Kristoffersen crashed out, leaving Sweden’s Andre Myhrer to take gold.

At 35, the Swede surpassed Sochi 2014 champion Mario Matt as the oldest winner of an Olympic slalom title by just over two months.

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Ryding will also be 35 come Beijing 2022 and, after bettering his previous finish of 17th from four years ago, believes he can be competing for a medal again.

“After the dust settles I’m sure I’ll be pretty proud of a top ten finish at the Olympics and in four years’ time have something to really build on,” said the Brit.

“Myhrer is 35 and the last winner Mario Matt was also 35 and, at the next Olympics, I’m 35, so I’ll try to keep that trend going.

“I came to it really late so I’m still warming up. I’m more than motivated to keep going – obviously I’m a little tired, this job is stressful, but I’m more than motivated to keep going and keep improving.

“I’ve had a podium at World Cup level and it’s the same guys I compete with so why not?

“Hopefully I can podium again in the between the Olympics to show people I can do it. I believe I’ve got it in me, I’m just not leaving it all out there all the time.”

  • Can Team GB add to their four medals in the final days of the Games? Don’t miss a moment of the Olympic Winter Games at Eurosport.co.uk and the Eurosport app 

Ryding came into the event as a possible contender following a succession of improvements on the World Cup circuit, including claiming Great Britain’s first World Cup skiing podium for 36 years with slalom silver in Kitzbuhel last January.

There had already been a slalom shock earlier in the Games with odds-on favourite Mikaela Shiffrin finishing fourth in the women’s event.

And that continued as world champion Marcel Hirscher skied out early on his first run – failing to take advantage of a course where the gates were set by the Austrian team coach.

Surprise

Into the second run and there was a surprise leader in Switzerland’s Ramon Zenhausern, who shot up from ninth after his opening effort.

Skiers tried and failed to better him, with only Myhrer doing so before Kristoffersen, with a lead of two tenths from the first run, took to the starting gate.

But the Norwegian slipped up, joining 64 other skiers among the 108-strong field in not finishing the two runs.

“It shows what happens in slalom and it shows what the Olympics does to people,” added Ryding.

“I feel I could have done more but I think a lot of other people do as well. I wasn’t that far behind Zenhausern and I knew it was within my abilities to do that sort of charge.

“I came into the race ranked tenth so I finished around where I’m ranked. My best result this year is sixth so I’m around the top ten and that’s what I’ve done there.”

  • Can Team GB add to their four medals in the final days of the Games? Don’t miss a moment of the Olympic Winter Games at Eurosport.co.uk and the Eurosport app 

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