It was a 13th place finish for Dave Ryding at his fourth Winter Olympic Games yesterday, as he confirmed he will remain competing at the highest level of alpine skiing for at least another year.
Fresh from a record-breaking World Cup gold in Kitzbühel last month, 35-year-old Ryding was left disappointed by a first-run mistake in Beijing.
After an incredibly strong start, during which he sat in gold medal position on a tricky, technical course, an error on one of the later gates saw Ryding lose speed and slip down the standings to 16th.
A solid second run of 50.44 meant that Ryding briefly sat in the top spot, but this was short-lived, as the top contenders completed their second runs to populate the podium.
As a result, Ryding ended the competition in 13th, 0.78 seconds shy of a medal position.
One run down for @daveryding ✅
— Team GB (@TeamGB) February 16, 2022
“It was a C plus day,” said Ryding. “I started great in the first run and lost the rhythm. My second run I knew that I wasn’t quite flowing enough.
“Even though I took the lead I knew it wasn’t enough. You can feel it when you’re skiing. It felt more like a struggle than a flow today.
“I still feel like I could ski Kitzbuhel now like I did three weeks ago” he continued. “It’s not like anything’s wrong. It’s just on the day, I was on the wrong side of it.”
One of Team GB’s two flagbearers, Ryding was the oldest member of the top 15 vying for a medal amidst an exhilarating season.
Beijing 2022 was his fourth Olympics, and will likely be his last, but Ryding remains determined to stay at the top level of slalom competition for at least another year.
“I am sure I will do one more year and I’ll be training hard in the summer,” said Ryding.
“Another Olympics, I don’t think so. It was so easy to target this Olympics because I’m 35, another year and you give it your all.
‘I’ll see what I’m like after next year. Respect my body, respect my family and my fiancée back at home who sacrifices a lot.
“If I carry on, I will expect my performances to be as good as they can be every race. I am always critical of myself and that’s how you stay at the top. If I lose that, it’s game over.”