Ollie Davies will quite rightly be taking all the plaudits in taking the GOLD medal in the men’s Junior World Championship Ski Cross at Cardrona in New Zealand but there was also a bronze for Elliane Hall in the Women’s race plus Emma Peters made it to the final in the same race.
Davies used to train with the Evolution Team on the Alpine circuit before moving across to race in Ski Cross. This was a decision that raised a few people’s eyebrows at the time but has now been more than vindicated, Last season Davies took part in World Cup and Europa Cup events, earning a podium in the latter along the way.
After finishing sixth in the timed trials that precede the racing, Hall won his opening round before finishing second in the semi final. 21 year old Davies had a bum draw from the result of his qualifying bib and this resulted in him having the worst start place. This did not worry him and he blasted out of the gate to take the lead in the race and was never headed.
After the race he explained “Everything went to plan; I was able to take it fairly easy in the quarters and semis, it wasn’t a grind and then it was quite a long wait until the final,” said Davies.
“I was in the far right gate for the final but I had my best start ever, was able to lead it into the first turn and I didn’t have to fight at all. I’m really happy with how it all panned out.”
He ended up scoring a comfortable victory over 2016 World Junior Champion Sandro Siebenhofer (Austria) and fellow-World Cup skier Maxim Vikhrov (Russia).
Jonathan Bingham (11th), Seb Ison (12th) and Mathieu Avent (16th) also featured in the knockout stages but were unable to progress from their respective quarter finals.
Another ex Alpine racer, Emma Peters looked to be heading for bronze in the Women’s race before she crashed heavily and allowed her team mate Elliane Hall through to take the bronze medal, the first medal won by the British Team this year. With Zoe Winthrop taking fifth overall after winning the small final and Faith Davie taking seventh, this was a stunning reward for the British Ski Cross programme.
What will these results mean for British Ski Cross? In short it will give the whole sport in the UK a boost and hopefully attract more athletes into ski cross in the UK.
Davies’s result shows what British athletes can do on the big stage and with his alpine skills blended with his development in ski cross from his Europa Cup and World Cup starts, shows the skills needed to be successful. Credit must also go to the BSS programme for the support that has been provided.
While alpine has a vibrant summer scene it would be great to see more support and events appear on the calendar for Ski Cross in the coming years in the light of this result. Ski Cross is one of the best sports to watch on the television!
Watch Davies on his winning run on the BBC website.