Dave Ryding says Team GB’s struggles at the Winter Olympics have stoked his hunger to win a medal at the fourth attempt, writes Sportbeat's Tom Harle.

The 35-year-old's Olympic expectations have ramped up since his World Cup victory at the 97th attempt at Kitzbuhel in January.

Now there’s a very real prospect of further pressure if Ryding unexpectedly goes to the start gate for tomorrow's slalom in search of Britain’s first medal in Beijing.

The Rocket's response sits somewhere between Dunkirk spirit and stiff upper lip.

“If it so happens that there are still no medals by the time it comes, I’ll be extra motivated,” said Chorley ace Ryding.

“I’ll dig even deeper and do what I can. I’ve been in positions before when I’m not skiing well or something’s not going right and I’ve pulled something out.

“The vibe’s good in the team. It’s easy to watch and dwell on the negatives. It’s not all doom and gloom, I’ve seen much worse situations.

“We’re Brits, we’ll always stick together and we’re a hardy nation.

“Don’t worry, keep calm. I might get a T-shirt printed that says ‘keep calm and watch slalom!”

Ryding can speak from experience as one of four four-time Olympians on Team GB.

He featured at Vancouver 2010, where Amy Williams' skeleton gold was Britain's one and only medal.

After a historic win at Kitzbuhel, Britain’s first World Cup triumph, Ryding called his last race before the Olympics a ‘slap back to reality.’

He finished 20th at Schladming in another reminder of the unpredictability of slalom racing.

The slalom circuit has produced six different winners in six World Cup races this season with 14 different skiers have stood on the podium at some stage.

“Someone in that group has to finish 14th,” said Ryding.

“I know that it’s in me to win and I can be reassured to do it on the day. Expectation is naturally going up since Kitzbuhel and that’s fine. That’s because I’m skiing well.

“If expectation was rock bottom, I wouldn’t be in a good place. With success comes expectation, I’ve just got to do the right things.”

The majority of alpine skiing medals at this Games have gone with form - that’s if you discount out Mikaela Shiffrin’s struggles.

Shocks are never far away in the sport with men’s technical skiing still in a transitional phase after the retirement of Austrian legend Marcel Hirscher.

China’s artificial snow is icy and slippery but the ‘Ice River’ piste holds fewer pitfalls than the likes of Adelboden and Kitzbuhel, both of which have yielded medals for Ryding.

And having finished ninth at PyeongChang 2018, Britain’s best alpine skiing result in 30 years, Ryding has absolutely no reason to hold back.

“The course is quite mellow,” said Ryding. “It’s going to be tight racing and I’m going to have to risk more than I normally do at a World Cup.

“I’ve been good on all World Cup pistes, I’ve proven I can do it in any conditions, it’s all about what happens on the day.

“I am in the mindset of do or die. I’ve had a ninth at the Olympics and built my way in. I’ve had a decent one, there’s no point in trying to get another ninth.

“I may as well try to get better. The only way to do that now, especially with slalom, is to risk it. The winner will take it all and I’ve got to stay in that mindset.”

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