Team GB Alpine skier Rachelle Rogers (Hampshire, pictured) raced in the slalom, her fourth and final event, during difficult wintry conditions on day seven of the Winter Youth Olympic Games in Innsbruck, Austria.
Rogers started her first run of her favoured discipline in fine form, but unfortunately missed a gate towards the end of the course and therefore was not able to complete her second run or secure a finishing position.
Rogers said: “It’s so frustrating not to finish as I was skiing really well. I had a very good top section while lots of the other girls were struggling there. The first six gates were on a very steep section of the course and it was a straight first gate and then suddenly you are turning. I skied that part really well and also on the flat section down the course. There were ruts and it was quite difficult but I was going through them and going well. Then about six gates from the end I was on my inside ski, caught the edge and just came out. I was thrown off balance a bit and came in late, missed the gate and then there’s no way back.
“Overall, the Youth Olympics has been a really great experience and I won’t forget it for as long as I live. I’ve learnt so much from the culture and education programme and from just talking to other people from other countries. I’ve learnt what it’s like being at an Olympic event and being an athlete, because on TV you only see the performances and the ceremonies, now I know what it’s like behind the scenes. My future ambition is to one day compete in the Olympic Games. I think 2018 is a more realistic goal for me than Sochi.”
Meanwhile at the Innsbruck Exhibition Centre Team GB’s curlers were back in action in the mixed nation doubles competition. In this unique innovation from the World Curling Federation and the International Olympic Committee each curler is paired with a competitor of the opposite sex from another country to create 32 pairs who will contest a knockout competition.
In the round of 32 matches today Team GB’s Rachel Hannen (Hamilton) won 8-5 alongside partner Markus Skogvold of Norway. The pair beat opponents from Sweden and New Zealand.
Hannen said: “I’m very pleased to have won. I was very relaxed coming into the doubles event and that probably helped my performance. My partner and I are still trying to get to know each other and understand each others’ games and he speaks a little bit of English but not much so we are still learning as a pair. The game is different to the team event, I would say a bit more exciting and if we play the way we did in our first match then we’ve got a good chance of progressing in the competition.”
There was no such luck for Thomas Muirhead (Perthshire) and Angharad Ward (Tonbridge) who both exited the competition after suffering close defeats. Muirhead and partner Mizuki Kitaguchi of Japan went down 9-5 after seven ends against the pair from New Zealand and Canada. Ward and partner Markus Skogvold of Norway agonisingly lost 9-8 to the pair from Sweden and New Zealand after leading 8-4 with two ends to go. Britain’s fourth competitor Duncan Menzies (Arbroath) is in action late on Friday night alongside Taylor Anderson of the USA.
Great Britain Coach Brad Askew who was coaching Hannen and Muirhead and their partners commented on the new competition format: "It's a great challenge as coach. First of all you have to get over the language barrier. But these young athletes all speak the language of curling! They all know the hand signals used in the game and once you’ve worked that out – they were ready to go out there and play.”
Saturday will see the round of 16 and quarter finals, before the semi-finals and finals take place on Sunday.