The shackles are off for Olympian Dave Ryding as he prepares for another Delancey British National Alpine Ski Championships, with a ninth-place finish in the Olympics already secured.
Ryding, who has a record eight British titles, recorded his first top ten Olympic finish in PyeongChang, but the 31-year-old is not hanging up his skis just yet.
The Bretherton ski ace insists the pressure has gone as he targets a podium spot at Beijing 2022 with the championships in Tignes, France being the first step on that four-year journey.
“There’s pride but more that I have a base to build on, ninth in the Olympics is not achieved very often in British Alpine Skiing so I have a base to use for the next four years,” he said.
“I know I have had a top ten and it’s like ‘let’s try and go better’, there’s no nerves if I don’t get to Beijing because I still have that top ten. It takes the shackles off for the next Olympics.
“That’s the next long-term goal, four years and I’m glad it’s not on the doorstep and everyone is asking me how I am feeling for it.”
Ryding was Britain’s biggest hope for an alpine skiing medal in Korea after claiming a first World Cup podium for the nation in 35 years when he picked up slalom silver in January 2017.
His success at the British Championships too is unmatched, last year he won an eighth title, and he’ll be taking a relaxed attitude over to the Alps this time around: “I had targets of winning and I achieved eight titles so this year it’s really like going and trying to ski technically well and enjoy myself,” he added.
“That (eighth title) was always in the back of my mind, it was always talked about that I had to try and get eight if I win a ninth great or it may be next year.
“I don’t have anything to chase but to notch another win would be nice, but I like to see everyone and do my best.”
l To follow the progress of the Delancey British Alpine Ski Team visit www.teambss.org.uk or follow @teambss on Twitter.