Dave Ryding bemoans ‘small margins’ as he fails to make lightning strike twice at Winter Olympics

Ryding fell short in the slalom

Dave Ryding couldn’t make lightning strike twice in a month at the Olympics but insists he’ll keep dancing for at least another year.

The 35-year-old made a big mistake on his first slalom run and finished 13th in Beijing, falling short of his own expectations after a historic season.

Ryding has now had four failed swings at an Olympic medal but it took 97 attempts to win World Cup gold, his life’s ambition, Britain’s first in 55 years of trying.

The Rocket admitted he was hindered, more than helped, by the Games coming so soon after his glory day in Kitzbuhel.

“I was great three weeks ago,” said Ryding. “I just lost the flow, the rhythm. We have to stay at the top of our game for the whole season which is difficult in skiing. It’s small margins in slalom at the moment and I was on the wrong side of the margin.

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“Kitzbuhel certainly took the stress away because I always thought I was capable of it, but doing it was so difficult. I’ll always be the first ever Brit and I’d like to have done it here.

“I thought I could do it today, but the stars have to align for me more than they do for Clement Noel or these other guys.”

Noel roared to gold by 0.61 seconds, winning France’s first gold in the discipline since 2002, with Austrian Johannes Strolz taking silver and Norway’s Sebastian Foss-Solevag bronze.

Ryding stormed out of the start gate on his first run and sat in gold medal position for the first half of an icy course.

The problems came when he went from the flat section onto the steep and an error saw him thrown onto his heels for some of the tougher turns.

That saw him bleed speed and cross the line in a time of 55.13s, much more than a second shy of a medal.

A solid second run of 50.44 saw him briefly assume gold medal position but he quickly cascaded down the standings once top contenders went again, ending 0.78 off bronze.

“It was a C plus day,” said Ryding. “I started great in the first run and lost the rhythm. My second run I knew that I wasn’t quite flowing enough.

Ryding made a key mistake in the slalom

“Even though I took the lead I knew it wasn’t enough. You can feel it when you’re skiing. It felt more like a struggle than a flow today.

“I still feel like I could ski Kitzbuhel now like I did three weeks ago. It’s not like anything’s wrong. It’s just on the day, I was on the wrong side of it.”

Ryding was the oldest member of the top 15 vying for a medal having traded blows in the twists and turns of a remarkable slalom season.

He ruled out another crack at the Olympics but it seems at least another year ‘disco dancing’ on the top-level circuit awaits.

“I am sure I will do one more year and I’ll be training hard in the summer,” said Ryding.

“Another Olympics, I don’t think so. It was so easy to target this Olympics because I’m 35, another year and you give it your all.

‘I’ll see what I’m like after next year. Respect my body, respect my family and my fiancée back at home who sacrifices a lot.

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“If I carry on, I will expect my performances to be as good as they can be every race. I am always critical of myself and that’s how you stay at the top. If I lose that, it’s game over.”

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