Wednesday 8 February 2023 Dublin: 7°C
# Winter Olympics
Ireland's Thomas Westgaard finishes strong in cross-country skiing
Westgaard pushed from 74th to finish 63rd in Pyeongchang, while Ireland’s Alpine racers claimed top 50 spots.

THOMAS WESTGAARD WAS happy to beat his world ranking to end up in 63rd place in this morning’s extensive 115-strong field for the 15km Cross Country Skiing.

World number 76 Westgaard, whose mother Celia Maloney hails from Galway, finished the 15km course in 37:35.6, just under four minutes off gold medallist Dario Cologna’s 33:43.9.

Pyeongchang Olympics Cross Country Men Dmitri Lovetsky Dario Cologna on his way to 15km gold. Dmitri Lovetsky

Norway’s Simen Hegstad Krueger came home in second, with Russian Denis Spitsov beating denying the Scandinavian nation a second medal as he beat Martin Johnsrud Sundby by 1.9 seconds.

“I have to be satisfied because it was one of my best skate races this season. It was a tough start but I grew into it,” said Westgaard.

In Alpine skiing there were two top 50 placings for Ireland, though Clare man Patrick McMillan was unhappy with his 48th and last place finish in the Super G.

“I had a mistake before going into the Dragon Valley, the flat part, which meant I lost all my speed,” McMillan said after his run.

“That meant I was slower than I’d hoped but I felt I skied the top section very well. I wanted to do a little bit better but I guess I have to be happy with how everything went and come back stronger the next time.”

Five years after taking up the sport, McMillan added: “The future looks very bright for Irish skiing and I’m more motivated than ever to keep on going.

“I’ve had a taste of what it’s like now and I need to come and do it again and make a result that really stands out. Four years and eight years from now I have high hopes.”

13 skiers, including Austrian star Peter Fill, did not finish. Gold was claimed by Fill’s compatriot Matthias Mayer, finishing .13 seconds ahead of Switzerland’s Beat Feuz. Norway’s Kjetil Jansrud added a Super G bronze to his Downhill silver.

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In the women’s Slalom, Tess Arbez was 46th of 54 finishers, beating the minute-mark in both of her runs to post a combined time of 1:58.47.

Sweden’s Frida Hansdotter recorded the second-fastest time on both of her runs and so claimed gold in a time of 1:38.63.

Fastest on run one, Switzerland’s Wendy Holdener took silver, while Austria’s Katharina Gallhuber posted the fastest time of the day on run two to jump, from ninth, into the bronze medal spot ahead of Mikaela Shiffrin.

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