Ryding sets sights on Beijing 2022 medal after best-ever Olympic slalom result
Alpine Skiing

Ryding sets sights on Beijing 2022 medal after best-ever Olympic slalom result

22 February 2018 / 07:37
Dave Ryding vowed to be on the podium in four years time after achieving Great Britain's best Olympic alpine skiing result for 30 years.

The man referred to as the Rocket finished ninth in the men's slalom, falling just shy of Martin Bell's eighth in the downhill at Calgary 1988.

After a solid enough first run which left him 13th, the Brit promised to turn on the afterburners in his second but a couple of costly errors meant the charge did not materialise – his second run actually being slower.

But his time of 1:40.16 was enough to lift him up the field and into a single-digit placing as Norwegian first-run leader Henrik Kristoffersen crashed out, leaving Sweden’s Andre Myhrer to take gold.

At 35, the Swede surpassed Sochi 2014 champion Mario Matt as the oldest winner of an Olympic slalom title by just over two months.

Ryding will also be 35 come Beijing 2022 and, after bettering his previous finish of 17th from four years ago, believes he can be competing for a medal again.

“After the dust settles I'm sure I'll be pretty proud of a top ten finish at the Olympics and in four years' time have something to really build on,” said the Brit.

“Myhrer is 35 and the last winner Mario Matt was also 35 and, at the next Olympics, I'm 35, so I'll try to keep that trend going.

“I came to it really late so I'm still warming up. I'm more than motivated to keep going – obviously I'm a little tired, this job is stressful, but I'm more than motivated to keep going and keep improving.

“I've had a podium at World Cup level and it's the same guys I compete with so why not?

“Hopefully I can podium again in the between the Olympics to show people I can do it. I believe I've got it in me, I'm just not leaving it all out there all the time.”

Ryding came into the event as a possible contender following a succession of improvements on the World Cup circuit, including claiming Great Britain's first World Cup skiing podium for 36 years with slalom silver in Kitzbuhel last January.

There had already been a slalom shock earlier in the Games with odds-on favourite Mikaela Shiffrin finishing fourth in the women's event.

And that continued as world champion Marcel Hirscher skied out early on his first run – failing to take advantage of a course where the gates were set by the Austrian team coach.

Into the second run and there was a surprise leader in Switzerland's Ramon Zenhausern, who shot up from ninth after his opening effort.

Skiers tried and failed to better him, with only Myhrer doing so before Kristoffersen, with a lead of two tenths from the first run, took to the starting gate.

But the Norwegian slipped up, joining 64 other skiers among the 108-strong field in not finishing the two runs.

“It shows what happens in slalom and it shows what the Olympics does to people,” added Ryding.

“I feel I could have done more but I think a lot of other people do as well.

“I wasn't that far behind Zenhausern and I knew it was within my abilities to do that sort of charge.

“I came into the race ranked tenth so I finished around where I'm ranked. My best result this year is sixth so I'm around the top ten and that's what I've done there.”

Another to complete both runs was Team GB's second competitor Laurie Taylor who was an impressive 26th on his Games debut.


That was one place better than Ryding managed in his first Olympic slalom event in 2010 with Taylor saying he took inspiration from his teammates' efforts. 

"Watching Dave push the top guys in the world has been great to watch and I look up to him, I want to try and copy what he does," said the 22-year-old who will compete in
Saturday's team event with Ryding, Charlie Guest and Alex Tilley.

"I'm so happy to have made it through to the finish line. It was a fight to get down but I'm really happy.

"It was super fun, the first time getting a clean course at one of these events and to finish top 30. That's where I was hoping for. I didn't know I could get it so I'm so chuffed."

Freestyle skiing

Emily Sarsfield made her ski cross debut finishing 22nd in the ranking round. She will ski against France’s Alizee Baron and Canada’s India Sherret in Friday’s first knockout race.

"The important thing for me was making sure I had a smile on my face at the start and the finish,” she said. 

“I ski better when I'm having fun. And also at the end of the day, you are risking your life here and you have to make sure you're having some enjoyment as well.

"The really fun part from me is when you are racing in the heats and going head to head so I'm looking forward to that on Friday."


Kyle Smith's hopes of making the men's curling semi-finals were ended with a tiebreaker defeat against Switzerland. Click here to read his thoughts as he vows to learn the lessons of PyeongChang and strike gold in Beijing.

Sportsbeat 2018