Chorley ski star Dave Ryding is ignoring all the ‘outside noise’ as he attempts to become Great Britain’s first Olympic slalom champion.
The 31-year-old heads to Pyeongchang, South Korea, for the 2018 Winter Games this week with genuine
aspirations of finishing on the podium.
Ryding’s rise to prominence over the last few years is a remarkable one and his story has captured the imagination of snow fans both at home and abroad.
Raised on the dry slope at Pendle Ski Club, Ryding really should have no right going head to head against the best in the world such as Austria Marcel Hirschler and Norway’s Henrik Kristoffersen, who have been brought up on the white stuff.
However, over the last couple of years, Ryding has bridged the gap between himself and the top stars.
Last season he finished second at Kitzbuhel – the first Brit to finish on a World Cup podium since Konrad Bartelski,in 1981.
And this season, he has maintained his position in the top 10 rankings list in the world
Last week two of the all-time great skiers –former Olympic world champions Kjetil André Aamodt and Bode Miller – backed him to make history in Pyeongchang.
Ryding though is refusing to be drawn on what other
people think of his chances, preferring to stay focused on the task in hand.
“I just keep my head down like I always have done and keep working hard,” said
Ryding, who hails from the small village of Bretherton.
“There is always a lot of talk around the Olympics – people talk a lot, but it’s all about what you do on the day.
“I don’t worry or take much notice of what other people say about me.
“It’s nice when people talk about you as a medal prospect.
“It reassures me that I must be doing something right.
“But there’s no extra pressure on me. It all boils down to what I do on the day.”
The slalom competition gets under way a week on Thursday and Ryding, who has competed in the past two Winter Olympics in Vancouver and Sochi respectively, said he is not setting himself any targets.
“I doubt I would be disappointed with a top-10 position,” said Ryding. “But it’s all about how I ski really.
“If I know that I have left everything out there, then you can’t do any more than that.
“I have just got to focus on myself and what will be, will be.”