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Downhill dramas take toll on para-alpine skiers

10 March 2018 10:21 AM
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“I don't think any athlete can shake off a disappointment like this easily. But what I can do is give myself half an hour to feel absolutely rat shit.

“Then I focus on the things I did well, and I focus on my mistakes then I put it to the side.”

For standing skier Gourley, also a three-time Paralympian, his campaign got off to a sour note after he missed a gate early in his run.

He wasn’t letting the disappointment affect his campaign, however, which features five standing disciplines – downhill, slalom, giant slalom, super-G and super combined.

“I obviously missed the gate there but I’m really happy with what I did, really happy with the intent, that I rolled up here and had a crack even though I couldn’t see that gate,” Gourley said.

“It’s not a great hill for me and I’ve got to really push the line and take risks, and I did that and committed to the plan and unfortunately I was three feet to the left of where I needed to be.

Sitting skier Tori Pendergast was only one spot out of the medals in her downhill race. The 27-year-old lost control in the final stages after holding a medal position for most of her run.

Pendergast had been forced to wait for five minutes at the top of her run after another competitor crashed.

"It was a bit tough but that stuff is always a huge mental battle to try and get over,” she said.

"Your mind just goes to the worst scenario … but I had a really good crew at the start who were trying to keep me calm as best they could.

"I just lost my balance through that triple. It was a bit bumpy through that area, and if you lose your edge on a sits-ski it's quite hard to recover from it.”

Sam Tait was making his Paralympic debut and he was overjoyed with finishing 11th in the men’s sitting downhill event.

“The experience is unreal. I just wanted to lay down a good track today to try and relax myself for the rest of the week,” he said.

"Again, it's beyond my control so I can't change it. It's nothing I've done or anything like that.”


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