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Wednesday February 21, 2018 - Email this article to a friend

Britain's best alpine skier Dave Ryding came 9th at the Olympics but the big shock is that both Marcel Hirscher and Henrik Kristoffersen skied out.

It was not to be for Dave Ryding.

He was unable to get on the podium but is in the top 10.

It's his best finish by a long way in an Olympic games and is officially Britain's second-best male alpine result in Winter Olympics history,  bettered only by Martin Bell's eighth in the Calgary downhill in 1988.

It was a race that none of the experts could possibly have predicted.

The hot favourite, Marcel Hirscher was an early casualty.

He failed to finish his first run.

Marcel HirscherHirscher skis out on run 1

The Austrian was fifth out of the start gate, straight after the man considered his main rival, Norway's Henrik Kristoffersen, who had had a blistering run.

Hirscher was going for his third gold of the Games.

Dave Ryding, with bib 13, couldn't match the pace of Kristoffersen, finishing run one 1.37 seconds behind the leader.

Dave RydingDave Ryding finishes run 1

Ryding was lying in 13th place after run one.

He is known for his second run charges, so was hoping to make up some time and places and he did, securing another career top 10, despite making some mistakes.

Kristoffersen, as the leader, was the last skier to go and he had a lead of 0.21 seconds over Sweden's Andre Myhrer.

But the Norwegian straddled a gate and went out.

Myhrer took the gold and Switzerland's Ramon Zenhaeusern the silver.

Austria's Michael Matt stormed up the leader board from 12th after run one to finish in the bronze medal position.

Olympic men's slalom podiumThe shock slalom podium

"At the start of the day if you'd said ninth I'd have said, it's solid," Ryding said.

"I had a couple of mistakes there that were a bit costly. I feel I could have done more but I think a lot of other people do as well. At the end of the day ninth's what I got.

"A top 10 at the Olympics after the dust settles I'll be pretty proud of and in four years' time I will have something to really build on."

Dave RydingRyding heading towards 9th














So 31-year-old Dave Ryding is up for a fourth Olympic Games and is already looking towards Beijing in 2022.

"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," he said.

"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.

"Hopefully I can podium again in 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."

Dave RydingRyding up for another Olympics - photo British Ski & Snowboard

















He later posted this on Instagram:

Pyeongchang is Ryding's third Olympics.  He finished 27th in Vancouver in 2010 and 17th in Sochi four years ago.

He would have been disappointed had he not improved on that after the races he's had this season and last when made the World Cup podium for the first time, picking up the silver medal in Kitzbühel in January 2017. 

Dave RydingDave Ryding at Kitzbühel in 2017 - photo Mo Guile, Zoom Agency

He's currently ranked 10 in the World Cup standings for slalom and his best result so far this winter was a fourth place in the Oslo City Event parallel slalom.

His best result in a regular slalom race in the 2017-18 season so far is sixth at Madonna di Campiglio in December.

Dave RydingRyding 6th in Madonna di Campiglio

Ryding was competing against the best slalom skier in the world, Austria's Marcel Hirscher, who he beat in the Oslo City Event.

Hirscher was aiming to join an exclusive club of alpine skiers to win three gold medals in the same Olympic Games.

Marcel HirscherMarcel Hirscher won gold in the alpine combined

His fellow Austrian Toni Sailer did so in 1956, France's Jean-Claude Killy did it in 1968 and Janica Kostelic of Croatia - the only woman to have achieved it - did it in 2002. 

Hirscher has already won gold in both events he's contested in Pyeongchang - the alpine combined and the giant slalom.

Giant Slalom podiumGiant Slalom podium: Kristoffersen (silver), Hirscher (gold), Alexis Pinturault (bronze)

He is number one in the world and the reigning World Champion in slalom.

He went into the Olympic slalom as the strong favourite but spent most of it as merely a spectator.

Marcel HirscherHirscher the spectator

With Hirscher and Norway's Henrik Kristoffersen both on sparkling form coming into the race, most pundits thought there would be only one place on the podium up for grabs and that Ryding was among those who could do it. 

The former ski racer and BBC presenter Graham Bell said Ryding should not worry about getting a good placing but "go for it" for a medal. 

Ryding's results this season:
  • Levi- Did not finish
  • Val d'Isere - 19th
  • Madonna di Campiglio - 6th
  • Oslo city event - 4th
  • Zagreb - 7th
  • Adelboden - 12th
  • Wengen - DNF
  • Kitzbuhel - 9th
  • Stockholm - 9th
  • Schladming - 12th
  • Pyeongchang Olympics - 9th

There were 108 racers on the start list in Pyeongchang, more than half of whom failed to finish the first run. 

Ryding's teammate Laurie Taylor, who turned 22 earlier this month and was having his first taste of Olympic competition, had the race of his life.

Starting 51st in the order, he finished the first run in the top 30 so was able to start the second with the elite who go in reverse order before the rest of the field.

He moved up one place to 26th, which betters Ryding's first Olympic outing.

He will be one to watch.

Taylor's best previous result at this level was 33rd at the World Championships in St Moritz in 2017.

Laurie Taylor with Dave RydingLaurie Taylor with Dave Ryding

"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," Taylor said.

"Conditions are decent but the snow is so aggressive so it's really unforgiving. So if you make a mistake, it amplifies it and it's hard to deal with that.

"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."

Taylor said he was taking inspiration from Ryding.

"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."

More news from day 13.....

Women's alpine combined

As a result of a schedule change, there's already been a whole lot more going on, with several events being moved forward from Friday when high winds are forecast.

The women's alpine combined had the Americans Lindsey Vonn and Mikaela Shiffrin go head to head.

Mikaela ShiffrinShiffrin in the alpine combined

Vonn won bronze in the downhill on Wednesday but came only sixth in the Super G.

Shiffrin was  hoping to pick up her second gold of the games after her victory in the giant slalom.

She had suprisingly failed to get on the podium in the slalom.
For Vonn, there was to be no second medal.  She led after the downhill but failed to finish the slalom.

Shiffin missed out on the gold but took silver in between two Swiss skiers.  Michelle Gisin is the Olympic champion.  Wendy Holdener is the bronze medallist.

Women's snowboard big air

The women's snowboard big air final was won by the favourite, Austrian Anna Gasser, with Jamie Anderson (USA) second, and 16-year-old Zoe Sadowski Synnott from New Zealand third.

Big airBig Air - photo GB Park & Pipe

Men's ski halfpipe

It was an American 1-2.

The defending champion David Wise topped the podium, winning with a massive score of 97.20 points on the last of his three runs.  He had failed to land his first two.  

Alex Ferreira was second and another 16-year-old New Zealander, Nico Porteous, was third.

The contest was a high-class display of the best of freestyle skiing. 

Alex Ferreira, Nico Porteous & David WiseFerreira, Porteous & Wise

Women's ski cross

And finally, GB's Emily Sarsfield successfully negotiated the women's ski cross seeding run ahead of the elimination rounds on Friday.

The 34-year-old has made it to the Winter Olympics at her third attempt. 

She was injured and unable to compete at Vancouver in 2010 and was not selected for Sochi.

Friday's seeding run determined the rankings ahead of the elimination rounds.

Sarsfield qualified in 22nd place. In the 1/8 finals she will be up against sixth-seed Alizee Baron (France) and 11th seed India Sherret (Canada).

The top two from this race will continue to the quarter-finals.

The elimination races begin at 10am (1am GMT) on Friday with Sarsfield in the sixth heat.

Dropping into the Olympic ski crossDropping into the ski cross course - photo Emily Sarsfield

What else to look out for on Friday, Day 14.....

If you've become hooked on curling (and don't we all every four years....), and  you support Team GB, you will want to watch the women's semi-final against Sweden.

The winners will be guaranteed at least a silver medal.  The losers will got into a bronze-medal play off. 

At Sochi the British rink (that's what the team's called) lost their semi-final but fought back to win bronze.

The skip Eve Muirhead is out for retribution.  She wants that gold.

The match begins at 8.05pm (11.05am GMT).

Catch up on more of our stories from the Games....

And PlanetSKI's guide to what's on when ...

And our rolling Olympic blog of anything that takes our fancy....

See here for the main PlanetSKI news page with all the latest stories from the mountains.

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