Andrew Musgrave embarrassed the greatest cross-country skiing nation there is last month but at the Winter Olympics here in Sochi he has been left feeling that they have got their own back.
The 23-year-old arrived in Russia having stunned Scandinavia by dominating the sprint at last month’s Norwegian Championships and – naturally – Musgrave got excited.
He wasn’t alone as others began to dream of a simply unheard of British Olympic cross-country skiing medal but in that excitement came Musgrave’s downfall, which has been exposed in Sochi.
Musgrave felt tired in the sprint prologue as he placed 27th – still Britain’s best ever cross-country result at an Olympics – before failing to compete in the latter stages of his quarter-final.
He then finished 44th in the 15km classic and revealed afterwards that he had peaked in Norway and got carried away training in Sochi while in the team sprint even luck evaded him.
Andrew Young suffered an unfortunate case of his tachycardia but in an ironic twist of fate Musgrave believes the reason for his failure in the sprint could be a cause for success in the 50km mass start finale.
“So far it doesn’t look like I am good at tackling pressure. I said after the 15km classic that I have been looking back at what I did leading up to the Olympics and I think I got a bit too excited and trained a bit too much basically,” he said.
“Things haven’t gone at all according to plan so far – knocked out in the quarters in the sprint, went quite slowly in the classic, Andrew had problems. So it has not been ideal but there’s still the 50km to go so hopefully things will turn around.
“I wouldn’t say it was a storming success but it is not complete abysmal failure. I was still top 30 in the sprint. It has not been a disaster by any means but personally at least it is not what I have been dreaming of.
“This year I have obviously had more volume in my training, I have trained a little bit harder generally so hopefully I will have a better base and manage the full 50km without dying.”
The 50km mass start is a grueling way for Musgrave to end what has felt like a grueling second Winter Olympics – he’ll be skiing for two hours in temperatures that could exceed 15 degrees.
“I am feeling much better than last week, which is a good sign. I had a bit of cold the other day and had to take it easy for a few days and I feel quite a lot better after that,” he added.
“The 50km skate has never been my best event. I feel awesome usually. For about 35km I will ski dead fast but after that everything just stops.
“But the waxers have sorted some good skis for me so everything seems like it should be alright for the 50km, we will see how that goes.”
© Sportsbeat 2014