Great Britain's Olympic alpine skiers have launched an appeal for help after their funding was cut by UK Sport.
GB Snowsport confirmed last week that the body had deemed the alpine, cross-country and para-Nordic programmes to no longer be eligible for "World Class Programme" funding amid a wider reduction ahead of the 2026 Winter Olympics.
Team GB entered four alpine skiers at Beijing 2022, including Dave Ryding, who was one of the team's flag-bearers at the opening ceremony in China and in January became Britain's first winner of a World Cup race with a stunning victory in Kitzbuhel.
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But with their funding cut, the group must now raise £800,000 in eight weeks to cover the shortfall.
“My stomach just sunk,” Charlie Guest, who in January recorded the best World Cup slalom result by a female British skier in 33 years, told the PA news agency.
“I’m in skiing, I’m very used to raising money, to finding money, to finding sponsors, but to have to find hundreds of thousands was something that was...I was just like, ‘I don’t know how I can do that.’
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"It's something I've been training in for 17 years, and I'm just like, 'I don't want this to be the end. This can't be the end'.
"There are plenty of times when you’re like, ‘Why am I doing this? I should just go home, I could just go and finish my degree, I could just get a job or whatever’. And then you have one good race and you start thinking, ‘Yeah, actually I love doing this. I’m so proud to be part of this team’.
"It’s sad. We’re a bunch of individuals that poured everything we had into this sport, and it’s an inspiring bunch as well.”
Along with Ryding - who will still be in line for some funding from during the Milan-Cortina Olympic cycle - and Guest, Billy Major and Alexandra Tilley competed in Beijing.
The group will continue to be supported by UK Sport's national squad level funding, but there will be a shortfall in funding.
GB Snowsport has launched an official appeal to the body, but a decision may come after the close of the current funding on September 30.
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GB Snowsport chief executive Vicky Gosling said: “We fully support and share the disappointment of our Alpine team and all other GB Snowsport athletes impacted by UK Sport’s funding decision for the Milan-Cortina Olympic and Paralympic cycle.
“As an organisation, we are actively exploring all avenues to help make sure British athletes are able to compete to the best of their abilities in world-class competition, as they have done so successfully over the past few years.”
A statement from UK Sport suggested that the move came from a desire for more targeted investment in freestyle events.
“UK Sport is aiming to become an ever greater force in winter sport, while powering a broader range of sports and champions who reflect the diversity of British society,” a statement read.
“We recognise GB Snowsport and some of their athletes will be disappointed by our recent investment decisions, but our investment going forward for snowsport is now more targeted, with a focus on the freestyle ski and snowboard disciplines, albeit not exclusively.”
Team GB's only two medals from the 2022 Winter Olympics came in curling, with Eve Muirhead's rink taking gold and Bruce Mouat's men silver.
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The Olympic Games will return with Paris 2024, live on Eurosport and discovery+.
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