‘Winner takes it all’ says Chorley ace Dave Ryding as he goes for glory in Beijing

Dave Ryding says Team GB’s struggles at the Winter Olympics have stoked his hunger to win a medal at the fourth attempt.

By Tom Harle
Tuesday, 15th February 2022, 10:52 am

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

There is a very real prospect of further glory as Ryding goes to the start gate in the early hours of Wednesday morning in the slalom, likely in search of Britain’s first medal in Beijing.

“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.

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Olympic flagbearer Dave Ryding from Bretherton

“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.

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

“I am in the mindset of do or die,” he said.

“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.

“The winner will take it all and I’ve got to stay in that mindset.”

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