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Countdown to Sochi: Winter sports week in review

February 3, 2013 16:37 pm

It's been a good week for Great Britain's Winter Olympics hopefuls - with just over one year to go until the 2014 Games in Sochi.

Short track speed skater Elise Christie followed up on bronze in the 1500m with a silver in the 1000m, increasing her lead in the overall World Cup standings in the distance.

Christie, with seven World Cup podium finishes this year, will only be hoping for similar success when she returns to Sochi, which has been hosting a series of Olympic test events this week, in 12 months time.

However, there was disappointment for the British men's relay quartet of Jon Eley, Paul Stanley, Jack Whelbourne and Richard Shoebridge.

They looked to be heading for a medal after reaching the men's relay final but a crash just six laps from the finish left them fourth.

Great Britain's men's bobsleigh team are looking ahead with confidence after an impressive fifth place in the four-man event at the World Championships.

It's certainly been a good week for British sliders in St Moritz following Shelley Rudman's gold and Lizzy Yarnold's fourth in the women's skeleton and Dominic Parsons's ninth in the men's skeleton competition.

Meanwhile Andrew Musgrave, who represented Team GB at Vancouver 2010, was in Sochi too for the cross-country skiing World Cup, which again acted as the Olympic test event.

And the 22-year-old could have hardly asked for a better first competitive outing at the 2014 Olympic venue as it coincided with him recording his best ever outright World Cup finish.

Musgrave, who qualified in ninth for the sprint freestyle in the Tour de Ski on New Year’s Day before finishing 11th, placed 18th in Sochi having advanced to the final ranked 13th.

Elsewhere, Pam Thorburn and Emily Sarsfield were 25th and 29th respectively after a frustrating weekend of weather delays, as organisers finally defied the conditions to stage the ski cross World Cup in Grasgehren. 

Also, this week alpine skier Dave Ryding's solid season of improvement continued as he claimed second at the Europa Cup slalom event in Kirchberg.

"This podium result in the Europa Cup will improve Dave's World Cup start number, and therefore his chances of becoming a permanent fixture in the top 30," said alpine performance manager Sean Langmuir, who is now looking ahead to the forthcoming alpine skiing World Championships in Schladming, Austria.

"Dave has made great progress, and in climbing the ranks by the traditional route from FIS to Europa Cup and then on to World Cup, the coaching team believe he is stronger for it."

Ben Kilner recorded one of the best finishes of his snowboarding career, claiming tenth against a high-quality field at the third halfpipe World Cup of the season in Park City.

And two-time Olympian Zoe Gillings, competing at the snowboard cross World Cup in Blue Mountain, ranked 15th, meaning she sits eighth in the current overall World Cup standings.

© Sportsbeat 2013