The race is not over but the heartbreak is there at the moment for Dougie Crawford. While the 27 year old still has time on his hands, the dream of going to Sochi at the moment hangs in the balance of other people. … With the fact that two thirds of his races have been cancelled due to weather this winter, Crawford was up against it even before the race started. Promising splits in the final training run and being fifth fastest in the final speed gun are signs that the talent is there.
After the race he spoke to Racer Ready: “It is pretty disappointing,” The splits had been encouraging, nudging the qualification for top 30 at the final split. ” I knew as I was skiing down that it was going alright, I took the key turns well but that’s it. I was a little bit unlucky in that last turn: if I had gone a little later, maybe a metre later I would have been OK. There is a big bump and I just pressed right at the wrong time. It was my mistake!”
As the reality of not making a top thirty started to dawn, Crawford reflected on the run. There is a lot of positive to take away from the race. “I feel that I am now starting to get going and in the next few weeks I could do something, but this is too late for the Olympics.”
So where does Crawford go from here. If the selectors do not look at the bigger picture and take extenuating circumstances into account, then Crawford has to start focusing on the 2015 World Championships in Vail / Beaver Creek. “That seems a long way off at the moment,” Crawford commented. Sochi will stay in his mind for “certainly another month,” he feels.
Crawford committed himself proud in the way he attacked the project. 2018 is still on the radar as well as the 2015 and 2017 World Championships.
As for the selectors and Sochi, Crawford has the ability, conditions have conspired to deny him more opportunities to reach the BOA Olympic criteria. Crawford, if selected, as many feel he should be, would not disappoint. He may not be challenging for a medal at the moment but he is a work in progress and with many of the speed skiers not winning World Cup racers until after they are 30, experience is vital and he should be given a ticket to Sochi to gain more experience. It is a long road to the top.
If the selectors of the Alpine athletes for Sochi feel that Crawford (and others) have not reached the factual target, then they need to look at the long term view as well. You do not become a World Class athlete overnight, it takes time, especially in the speed races. Having racers in the public view at the Olympics gives the sport a huge lift. By going it brings the sport into the public spectrum and this is something it needs BADLY.
Criteria are set for a reason but look at the long term benefits of sending athletes like Crawford, TJ Baldwin and Chemmy Alcott (her Downhill was postponed in Cortina today, they have rescheduled for the morning at the expense of the Super G), it inspires the next generation to work harder to reach their goals. They would not be sent just ‘for the T-shirt’ but for the motivation of the next generation of athletes as well.
So near yet….