Dave Ryding received a welcome surprise as he finally arrived in Sochi for his second Winter Olympics – but he’s not getting carried away with what he might be able to achieve himself.
The 27-year-old alpine skier was welcomed by none other than Lizzy Yarnold, who won Olympic skeleton gold on Valentine’s Day, when he got to his house high in the Rosa Khutor mountains.
Ryding is sharing a house with Team GB's golden girl and, while she’s long been done and dusted, he will only just now get going in his sole outing in the slalom today.
Indeed, Ryding has been busy racing while the Games have been take place placing 17th and tenth in Europa Cup races in Germany and Bulgaria respectively last week.
But Ryding is now in Sochi although he doesn’t want to jinx his good form by comparing what he might achievement to housemate Yarnold – insisting just being in the top 30 after the first run is his first goal.
“I have been a bit taken back by the whole scale of things here. It is really impressive what they have done and I was taken back by the mountain range – I have been saying it to everyone,” said Ryding
“I am sharing a house with Lizzy Yarnold as well. I walked in and there was Lizzy. I have seen her on the TV and she said ‘Hi I’m Lizzy’ and I was like ‘I know who you are’.
“It is great, she is a lovely girl and I had a great chat with her about things and I was taken back by how down to earth she was. You come to the Olympics and you see everything before you get here.
“So I was already getting in the vibe before I got here. Everyone has been doing great so hopefully I can take a bit of that as well. I have got some solid training in over the past two weeks and I am skiing well.
“I just want a good solid performance, get in the top 30 after the first run and then take it from there. That is the goal, get in there and then have a real charge in the second run.”
Ryding will make his second Olympic appearance today having finished 27th in the slalom and 47th in the giant slalom in Whistler four years ago.
He is a better skier now though as his performances on the second-tier Europa Cup tour demonstrate – Ryding became the first Brit to win that series’ overall title in pre-Olympic year.
His latest outings in Germany and Bulgaria didn’t quite go to plan and Ryding admits the nature of the slalom makes it impossible to predict what might happen next in Russia.
“I was third after the first run in Germany but unfortunately had a shocker in the second and a similar sort of thing happened in Bulgaria,” he added.
“It is hard to put a number on it, in skiing there are variables galore, who knows what the snow and the weather is going to be like?
“It could be raining, it could be anything, you could trip up, you never know. I have just got to worry about putting down my best skiing.
“That is all I am going to be thinking about at the start gate. If I do a good run I will be happy and if that happens anything can happen.”
© Sportsbeat 2014