Rhys Thornbury is currently sitting in eighth place after two heats of the men’s skeleton with a combined time of 1:41:93.
Rhys came in to today’s competition confident that he could be competitive on the track after achieving personal best times during his training runs. The first run today went well but he lost some time on the second and slipped back in the rankings.
“The push felt good but I was lacking in speed a bit. The guys in front really stepped it up,” he explained.
“I knew it would be tough on race day with guys pushing faster than me. It’s hard to claw it back but I’m feeling good for tomorrow for sure.”
With the podium seemingly so close, Rhys felt disappointed to have lost time but was at the same time pleased with his day one ranking. It is the first time a New Zealand skeleton racer has held a top-eight position at the Olympic Games.
A relative rookie in the field with only seven years in the sport compared to other racers with 20 plus years, he said, “to be here in 2018 fighting for top 10 feels good.”
Skeleton racing concludes tomorrow (Friday) with heats three and four. Only the top 20 racers contest the final heat.
16-year-old ski racer Alice Robinson achieved a solid 35th placing in the women’s Giant Slalom, a result in line with her current ranking on the world stage.
The teenager was disappointed to be sitting outside the top 30, in 37th place after her first run.
“I think maybe I was trying a bit too hard to go full throttle and not thinking enough above the technical aspect. I was paying too much attention to going as fast as I could instead of being tactically smart,” she explained.
However, the two-hour break between runs gave her time to reset.
“After the first run, I knew I could ski a lot better and it was about having to re-evaluate that and focus on what I was doing and skiing well rather than the result that was going to come out of it.”
The tactic worked and Robinson achieved a faster second run, improving her final placing to 35th.
“It’s a good experience and will make me a bit stronger in the long run. In another four years I’ll be older and more experienced and hopefully I can be higher up in the standings.”
Snowboard cross racer Duncan Campbell finished his day in 37th place. The seeding rounds took place in the morning with competitors racing individually and aiming to record a top 24-time to take them straight to finals.
Duncan was seeded 32nd after run one and then fell on his second seeding run and recorded a DNF. His finals heat of six included some of the top ranked riders but he started off well before a few tactical errors saw him drop back.
“It was a super close race, there was so much passing back and forth. For the first three quarters of the race I was in a really good position and going well. I made one small mistake on turn four and went a little high to conserve my speed and the other racers ducked in on the inside. I tried to pass them again but it was too slow and I couldn’t make it up.
“Small mistakes add up really quickly.”
PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games Rhys Thornbury Alice Robinson Duncan Campbell