Alcott: Ryding ready for an Olympic medal

Alcott: Ryding ready for an Olympic medal
By Sportsbeat

05/10/2017 at 12:26Updated

Dave Ryding will carry the expectation of a nation on his shoulders when he competes at next year's Winter Olympics but he'll take it all in his stride according to four-time Olympian Chemmy Alcott.

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Ryding made history earlier this year by becoming the first British alpine skier to win a World Cup medal in 35 years with silver in Kitzbuhel, before finishing eighth in the season standings.

The 30-year-old, already a two-time Olympian, is one of Team GB's leading hopes at next year's Games in PyeongChang, with Britain never having won an Olympic alpine medal.

Alcott, who retired from international skiing in 2014, is under no illusion as to the challenge Ryding faces, however, in a sport so onerous that even the slightest slip could see his chances go begging.

But if anyone can cope with the pressure, it's her former teammate, and Alcott will be Ryding's head cheerleader when he takes to the PyeongChang slopes.

"I don't want to put the pressure on Dave, but after that Kitzbuhel podium last year, it was incredible – he put so much hard work in and it wasn't a surprise for us who know him," said Alcott, speaking during SportsAid Week – a fundraising drive designed to support the next generation of athletes striving to represent Team GB and ParalympicsGB at future Olympic and Paralympic Games.

"He really does work from the moment he wakes up to the moment he goes to bed on being a better athlete. He really does deserve all the success that he gets.

"For me, going to the Olympics, he knows he is ready for a medal, he knows he's got the talent.

"But he is in a ruthless sport. With slalom skiing, you are one millimetre away from being disqualified or crashing every single turn.

"He has to go out there and push himself to the limit if he is to come back with a medal."

Team GB won four medals at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics but hopes are high that tally can be improved upon in PyeongChang, with Britain's snow stars having experienced phenomenal success in the years since.

And while jealous not to be taking to the South Korean slopes herself, Alcott sees no reason why Team GB can't return with plenty of medals to declare.

"This is the pinnacle, you can feel the energy building. We've got probably the most ambitious and talented winter sports team we've ever sent to the Olympics," she said.

"I just think it's going to be our winter. Team GB are going to rock next year in Korea.

"It's so accessible for us to ski in Britain now – we've got the talent, we've got the support, we've definitely got the drive and determination, and hopefully we'll get the results as well."

Sportsbeat 2017