CALLUM Smith was left wishing he could go back a week after a tough start to his Olympic debut in the 30km cross-country skiathlon at Sochi 2014.
Smith placed 62nd in his first ever Olympic race, clocking a time of 1:17:37.1 hours as Swiss skier Dario Cologna went over nine minutes quicker for gold.
But it would be cruel to judge Smith on results and times, with the statistics stating that, at 21, only four of the 68 skiers that started are younger than him.
Smith knows these Games are just the start of his Olympic career, but admitted a performance seven days ago had him expecting a bit more first time out in Sochi.
“I have done quite a few skiathlons. I did one last weekend actually and I had a great race, so I guess I am comparing it to that,” he added. “My race was pretty tough. It was OK, but maybe not my best performance ever. I started off pretty hard and I think maybe that was a little bit of a mistake. I was therefore pretty tired for the last 10km. I was just trying to stick with the leaders for as long as I could.
“I was isolated for a while, but I don’t think that makes it harder. You can ski at your own rhythm. It was a pretty tough field as well. The selection to get into this race is pretty hard – a lot of the smaller nations don’t even compete.
“Even not to be at the back you have got to do reasonably well. I would have definitely have liked to have been in the top 60. It was certainly not a bad race – it just wasn’t my best.”
Elsewhere, Dundee-based Jenna McCorkell produced a season’s best 50.09 in the short programme of the team figure skating, but Britain didn’t advance to the free skate.
Meanwhile, Smith’s campaign is far from over and expects to be better prepared for his next outing in the sprint thanks to his efforts in the skiathlon.
“The next couple of races are new races and I hope I can ski a little bit faster. I have the sprint and the time trial,” he added.
“Usually the skiathlon is my best event, but also the 15km classical can be good. I was certainly nervous because it was my first Olympic race.”
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