Finishing sixth in GS and second for 1996 births resulted in good week for me. I am back in America and having serious withdrawal symptoms from being in Romania and living the Olympic dream. I have been at events where they have opening ceremonies and award ceremonies, but they were nothing compared to what I experienced at the European Youth Olympic games.
It all started in London with a kitting out and media day. We had 17 athletes and there was a whole room filled with boxes of Adidas clothing on crates. I cant even imagine what London was like with 600 and something athletes. The rest of the day was spent getting to know each other and doing some media stuff. Ended up being a long day but it made me want to get to Romania even faster.
Max, myself, and Billy on the kitting out and media day.
What greeted us on our beds. On that card is Amy Williams who won a gold at Vancouver in Skeleton. She was actually there with us as an ambassador. It was nice to hear from someone who has truly lived the full Olympic dream.
Sunday was our first day out in Romania and we kicked off early with some GS training. It was cool to be up there with all the Alpine skiers and see some friends from other countries. After a few runs on a training hill we got the opportunity to freeski on the race hill. I was blown away by the condition of it – amazing snow. Later that night we had the opening ceremony. I was amazed. The security was high and the amount of people watching was unbelievable. At least few thousand if not more were there to watch the opening ceremony. It was a truly amazing experience and it was probably the first moment that I really felt truly proud of myself for working this hard to get to where I am now!
As you can see I was very excited to train!
The stage at the opening ceremony. Thousands of people sitting and watching behind me.
It Tuesday morning, and its the first race for the men, and its GS. GS is my most confident discipline because of my consistency, which trumps my slalom. I was wired all morning to get up there and start racing. I was starting bib 19 so I knew I had an awesome opportunity to ski well. My performance went above my expectations and it really was the most amazing feeling I have felt in my career so far. I skied a solid first run that put me into seventh place, which I was pleased with although I still could of skied faster. Although being in seventh was great place to be for a Brit, it just wasn’t good enough for me and I was hungry for me. Second run I charged harder than I ever have and despite some big mistakes I skied my way into 6th place, which is the best result my any Brit at the European Youth Olympics. I actually finished second for the 1996 births, which is quite an achievement as I beat some very good skiers my age and the age above.
Trying to conceal the excitement during course inspection.
Max and I at the finish after the GS race.
My final photo of the day. I labelled this day bittersweet.
I say it was bittersweet, because on one hand, I proved that I am able to compete with the best Juniors in the world. I dont want to be able to compete with them, I want to beat them. On the other hand, it was bitter, because I know that if I skied two runs error free like I can, I may of had a chance to walk away with a medal. It was one of the best days of my career so far. It has made me even more hungry to reach the Olympics and win medals. I am certain there will be more days like this if not better.
Although this was a great day, the trip was far from over. Still had the slalom to go. I felt great during warm up and I knew I could ski a fast run even starting 32, but sadly I failed to execute and be precise and that caused me to not finish the first run. I was sad about it, but I definitely still walked away from the events with one big result!
Waxing my slalom skis.
Our photographer Matt playing around with his camera
I can’t express how amazing the experience and I cannot wait until I can do something like this again. I am now back in Vermont and I have a few days training before I have two GS races this weekend at Burke.