Rocket Ryding ready to bring the speed
Alpine Skiing

Rocket Ryding ready to bring the speed

21 February 2018 / 05:55

You'd better keep an eye on skier Dave Ryding. The Rocket is determined to turn on the afterburners and storm his way into the medal mix in PyeongChang.

Unlike the sport of skeleton – seemingly the nation's adopted winter sport – Great Britain have not been able to slide in on the action when it comes to alpine skiing. 

No British Olympic medal in the history of the Games with Gina Hawthorn's fourth in the Grenoble 1968 Olympic slalom the best result.

But Ryding is a man on a mission, determined to demonstrate in Thursday's slalom race that we can compete with the great skiing nations. 

In January 2017 he equalled Great Britain's best-ever World Cup finish when he won slalom silver on the famous Kitzbuhel course, matching Konrad Bartelski's second place in the downhill in 1981.

The 31-year-old ended the 2016-2017 season ranked eighth in the world and then almost started the new one with a historic win, leading after the first run in Levi before crashing out.

“On my day I can be as fast as anyone and it’s about trying to bring that more consistently to every race,” said Ryding, who learnt to ski on the dry slopes in Pendle, Lancashire. 

“I’ve just got to go out there and believe and attack, that’s the main thing. If you pull out what you’ve got then you’ll do alright, if you don’t you’ll get whooped.

“I’ve not had a podium this year, I’ve been really close. I’ve been leading and fallen and won second runs but I’ve not got two runs together yet.

“It’s been a battle of a season but I’m still in the fight and I’ve been mixing it with the good guys.”

It is consistency – or a lack of it – which has plagued three-time Olympian Ryding this season though - five top-ten finishes masking the mistakes that have crept into his opening runs and left him playing catch up on his rivals. 

Earlier this season he beat the best in the business to clock the fastest time on the second run in Kitzbuhel – however a poor first run meant he only finished in ninth. 

“I know I can do it but my confidence has been knocked each race this year by making mistakes so I’ve just got to keep believing in myself and putting what I’ve got out there and eventually my time will hopefully come,” he added.

“It’s very much internal, I try and stay away from the hype or whatever anyone else is saying because I know myself, where I’m at, I know what I need to work on and I know exactly how I’m feeling in my skiing.

“I try not to get caught up in the moment. I know if I don’t bring my best skiing I won’t be in the medals because it’s so tight. I have to focus on what I need to do and if I get a medal then I’ll tell you what it feels like.”

Sportsbeat 2018