The Austrian All star team of Marcel Hirscher, Michi Kirchgasser, Eva Maria Brem and Christoph Noesig may have stood on the top step of the podium but Team GBR made a skiing nation and its fans very proud as they gave the Italian team a run for their money in the round of 16. Racing against a team withÂ World Cup race winners in it when the British Team consisted of one racer that had World Cup points winning experience was always going to be a tough ask. There is nothing stronger than a Brit with their backs to the wall, however, and Alex Tilley, Dave Ryding, Charlie Guest and Charlie Raposo came within a whisker of making the second round. …Â
Since Snowsport GB collapsed in the days leading up to the Vancouver Olympics in 2010, much has been written about what should happen. Five years after that event, the athletes themselves are producing results that are bringing the sport out of the doldrums: Ryding has regularly scored on the Slalom World Cup, Alex Tilley is ranked 31 in the world in women’s GS, Charlie Guest has won the ANZ Yellow bib, Jack Gower has been World Junior 1 Champion, Charlie Roposo is ranked in the top echelons of his year of birth in the world. And still UK Sport do not provide support for the team. If it was not for the support of the likes of Delancey and other personal sponsors of racers, this team of racers would not have been at Vail.
Ryding tweeted after the race “Racing as a team under the GBR banner was a proud moment today, great signs for the future of GBR skiing!!
#lovedit #whensthenextone” and how right he was. The Social Networks were alive and vibrant as people rejoiced in seeing British racers competing at the top table. Alex Tilley was neck and neck with World Cup racer Chiarra Costazza before she pinged out of a rut and went out; Ryding won his leg comfortably against Giovanni Borsotti; Charlotte Guest, just back after breaking her back late last year, gave Francesca Marsaglia a scare and ended up 0.05 back before Charlie Raposo put the hammer down and ended up 0.08 off World Cup race winner Matteo Marsaglia. Gutsy and driven performances by all.
In the debacle of Schladming two years ago when just Ryding and Chemmy Alcott were sent, despite the British team based in the next valley and the television rights money that FIS send to competing teams, this was why one prominent ex-British Team racer and now Director of the British Ski Academy commented on Facebook “This is why you send full teams to major events.”
Having a sport in the public eye brings exposure to those already supporting the sport and hopefully will encourage more companies, people and young racers to get involved in the sport. Alpine Ski racing is a great sport. The results are now starting to appear for Team BSS, not just in Alpine but across the board in all the disciplines, this is just one example of the success that the British athletes are now achieving!
Well done to all four racing and to the others involved in the sport. If you missed the footage, then watch here, courtesy of Happy Coach.
Picture Dave Ryding competing at Schladming in January 2015. Credit Zoom Agence – all rights reserved
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