DAVE Ryding was left nursing a kicking from the course after a costly error on his only alpine skiing outing at his second Winter Olympics – although his result backs up his future belief.
Ryding had to wait until the penultimate day of the Games to compete – he even took in two Europa Cup legs while some of his British teammates had already wrapped up their campaign in Sochi.
The 27-year-old admitted that he was good in the first run of the slalom at those events in Germany and Bulgaria put poor in the second and unfortunately for Ryding he followed the same pattern.
He met his top-30 aim in the first run, placing 27th after clocking a time of 49.40 seconds, but an error early on in the second cost him from realistically breaking into the top ten.
Ryding recovered when he could have easily pulled out to place 17th – an improvement of 10 on his Olympic debut in Vancouver and evidence to his claims that he can compete with the best in the world.
“I’ve said that all along, you never know what’s going to happen in this sport. Unfortunately I was on the receiving end of a kicking from the course,” said Ryding.
“It could have been so much better but that’s the way it goes. Now I go back and continue the World Cup and Europa Cup season. I’ll get going again and make sure I don’t make stupid mistakes like that.
“I’m sure I can mix it with these guys week in, week out. I just need little things to change and it’ll be there. I didn’t start (the sport) until really late. I haven’t come that good until the last few years.
“My body feels great, a lot of people have got aches and pains but I’m in great shape thanks to the physical training I’ve been doing. I’ve got plenty of years in me and plenty more years to improve.”
Having also competed in the giant slalom on debut in Vancouver four years ago and placing 47th, Ryding had just the one outing in the slalom at the Rosa Khutor Alpine Centre.
And Ryding, one of just two British alpine skiers in Sochi, conceded his disappointment was doubled by the fact that a better second run would have boosted his case for more significant funding.
“If I had nailed that second run, I think I could have achieved that, but it might not be good enough,” he added. “It doesn’t help because I’ve got to get my own skis, I’ve got to do everything myself and it’s just me and my coach on the road.
“Things could be a lot easier and would make a big difference but I’ve got to get the results first.
“It’s pretty frustrating as it would have really helped but that’s the way it goes. I guess, I’ll just have to dig in again with my coach and keep going how we are. I’m getting better year after year, I’m improving year after year so I’m just going to keep going, keep working hard and believe in myself.”
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