JACK Gower finished 31st in his opening event of the Winter Olympics.
The UK-born Irish Alpine skier, who has strong links to Skibbereen through his grandmother on his father’s side, competed in the Yangqing zone at the Beijing Games.
The men’s downhill event started at an altitude of 2179m with a vertical drop of 894m over a distance of 3152m, resulting in a challenging Olympic course. Starting in 37th place Gower produced a solid clean performance in the race, finishing 31st with a time of 1.47.61, which was 4.92 seconds behind the eventual winner Beat Feuz of Switzerland. Johan Clarey (France) won the silver medal, and the podium was rounded off with Austria’s Matthias Mayer.
Making his Olympic debut the former Junior World champion in Downhill was disappointed to not have finished higher.
‘I’m pretty disappointed with today, but I’m lucky I have more events and I’ll try and do a better job in the next few days. It’s a great course, it’s a challenging course, the snow makes it a lot easier, but there are tricky aspects to it so it’s a great Olympic downhill course and it was fun to ski,’ Gower said.
His favourite event is the Super-G, in which he competes in on Tuesday. This is a similar event insofar as it is based on speed, but the speed is not as fast, and it is more technical, with the gates closer together.
‘I’m definitely skiing a higher level in Super-G than Downhill, so we will see what happens tomorrow, but I will be looking forward to that one.’