Everyone Now Knows My Story – Dave Ryding On Making British Skiing History – Archyde

Dave Ryding reflected on his “crazy” journey to the top of his sport after becoming the first British skier to win an Alpine World Cup gold medal in Kitzbuhel on Saturday.

Three decades after starting his career on a 50-metre dry track on a windswept slope above Pendle in Lancashire, the 35-year-old is now established as a serious medal contender for next month’s Winter Olympics in Beijing.

Ryding moved up from sixth place to 0.38 seconds ahead of Norway’s Lucas Braathen after the first run of the men’s slalom, prompting boisterous celebrations from his support team and the respect of the ski world.

“It means more to me than anything when your peers and competitors that you compete against week in and week out show their respect for what you’ve accomplished,” Ryding said.

“No Brit has ever done that and they know how difficult it is and where I come from. Everyone knows my story now.”

Among those paying tribute was record-breaking American Mikaela Shiffrin, who called Ryding’s performance “amazing,” while the US ski team gave Ryding an “incredible cheer” for his victory.

Dave Ryding celebrated his historic World Cup victory in Kitzbühel (Giovanni Auletta/AP)

Ryding’s win came a day after he was confirmed with the team for his fourth Winter Olympics next month in Beijing and will inevitably raise expectations that the Briton is only too happy to accept.

“You win a World Cup three weeks before the Olympics and it goes without saying that everyone is talking about it,” said Ryding, whose ninth place finish at Pyeongchang in 2018 was the best result by a British alpine skier at an Olympics in 30 years.

“Of course I showed how good I am this year. The pressure and expectations have increased, but I don’t let the Olympics define me. I’ve had an amazing career and winning one took a load off my shoulders.

“Who knows – two or three weeks still feels like a long time. I will do my best to keep this old device in tip-top shape.”

Ryding can point to previous successes at Kitzbuhel, having become the first British alpine skier in 36 years to achieve a World Cup podium when he took World Cup silver in 2017.

And he admitted his timely run underscored the fundamental shift in attitudes towards British snowsports since its first games in Vancouver in 2010, which began days after the sport’s then-national governing body, Snowsport GB, went bankrupt.

This week the current and independent governing body GB Snowsport named a team of 18 skiers and three snowboarders for the Games and Ryding hopes its success will be an important factor in the further growth of the sport in Britain.

Dave Ryding improved from sixth place to victory in Kitzbühel after his first run (Giovanni Auletta/AP)

“The whole British winter sports scene has been through a real revolution since my first Winter Olympics and we’ve finally reached the stage where we have a strong association,” added Ryding, whose own coffers will be boosted with a €100,000 (£83,715) winner’s cheque from one of the most prestigious events in alpine racing.

He added: “It’s important for me to see the next generation pull through. You will be judged by what the next generation thinks of you and we will certainly no longer be seen as the laughing stock.

“If I can light a fire – I still remember seeing Alain Baxter in Salt Lake City and the excitement and something inside me that said it was great. If I’ve had that effect with another little kid somewhere, then I’m doing my job.”


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