IRELAND THOMAS Maloney Westgard today finished 29th in the 50km cross-country ski race with a mass start at the Beijing Winter Olympics.
Due to strong winds and extremely low temperatures the event was reduced to 28 km per day.
Russian Alexander Bolshunov completed his medal by winning gold ahead of teammate Ivan Yakimushkin, while Norwegian Simen Hegsted Kruger secured bronze.
26-year-old Meloni Westgard was aiming for the finish line in the top 30 and was thus pleased with her performance in difficult conditions.
“It was a race that needs to be remembered for sure, in many ways,” he said. “I am very pleased with my performance, the first in history to enter the top 30 in the skating race. It was a goal before the race, to get into the top 30, and I managed it. So I’m really, really happy.
“There was a struggle. At some stages I was happy that it wasn’t 50,000, but yes, it was a cold experience and tough conditions, but we got used to it. It’s also quite windy in Galway, so we’re ready for that. “
He added about the race: “I knew that in the group we were fighting for the 28th to 34th place. And the big difference is being in those positions for a skier.
“When you get into the top 30, everyone considers you a good skier. So when we were in this group, I tried to be more tactful, stay more in the middle of the group and have a good position without going too early.
“I knew that for the last 2 km there is a really long hill about 600 meters. I knew that on the last kilometer you can do a lot if you have energy, so for me the main thing was to save that energy, and then just go the last 500 meters. And I really did it, I think I made the right decision, and I had absolutely nothing left when I crossed the finish line. ”
The culmination of the event stops Ireland’s participation in this year’s Winter Olympics, and the team can reflect on some great performances that will be some of the best in the country’s 30-year history of participation in these Games.
Meloni Westgaard’s 14th place in last week’s classic 15km race, in addition to Jack Gower’s 12th place at the Alpine Combine, were some of the highlights.
The flag bearer of tomorrow’s closing ceremony is expected to be announced soon.