JACK Gower – the Irish Alpine skier with Skibbereen connections – has recorded Ireland’s best-ever Alpine Skiing result at an Winter Olympic Games.
The 27-year-old finished 12th overall in the Alpine Combined event at the Winter Olympics in Beijing earlier today.
Competing in his first Olympics, Gower started the day strong with 14th in the Downhill, before going two places better in the Slalom, finishing with an overall time of 2:37.74 and Ireland’s best Alpine Skiing result ever; a Winter Olympic result only bettered by Lord Clifton Wrottesley who finished fourth in the Skeleton in 2002.
‘Twelfth at the Olympics, I mean that’s crazy – there’s 30,000 competitors in Alpine Skiing, to get twelfth is… what can I say, it’s great,’ Gower beamed afterwards.
The Alpine Combined is an event where athletes compete in the Downhill speed event with the more technical Slalom, the overall winner is the fastest racer once the race times are combined. Normally a Downhill specialist, Gower put down a clean run in the challenging and technical Slalom course, finishing twelfth fastest in that run with a time of 52:58, placing him firmly inside his top fifteen goal when it was combined with the earlier Downhill time of 1:45.16, resulting in an overall twelfth fastest time of 2:37.74.
‘As an athlete you always want a little more. The downhill I had some really good sections and some slower sections, and the slalom was a real battle, so I would love to have done better. But at the same time 12th in the Olympics in such a competitive sport is huge, and I feel so grateful that I have had such huge support,’ Gower added.