Pyeonchang 2018 Winter Olympic Preview

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With the 2018 Winter Olympics set to begin this week, we take a look at the local competitors in the lead up to the games in South Korea.

First we look at Dave Ryder, 31, from Bretherton in Chorley, who is an alpine skier.

Ryder will want to better his performance from the previous Winter Games where he finished 17th in the slalom and would like to achieve more this year, especially with this being his third Winter Olympics.

Ryder was encouraged into skiing by his father from a young age as he was a skiing enthusiast.

Credit: Christian Jantsky

In 2013 he was the first Brit to win an Overall Europa Cup title. In the 2015 season he made a big step and finished in the top 30 in World Cup races 5 times, with his best result 16th in Madonna di Campiglio. He finished the season 30th in the World Cup standings.

He has had a good start to the year by finishing in the top 10 in the last four meetings from the first of January to the 30th of January of 2018.

The other north west competitor competing in South Korea is the Isle of Man’s Zoe Gillings-Brier in the field of snowboarding.

The 2018 games will be her fourth Winter Olympics and will want to better her current best at an Olympics which is a ninth place which was at the previous games in Russia, at the Sochi Games in 2014.

Gillings-Brier has been snowboarding since the age of 10 after switching from skiing and became a professional snowboarder at the age of 16 after a good showing at the European Youth Olympics in Finland where she placed sixth.

Despite challenging circumstances with regards to funding, Zoe fought her way back to the top of her sport after her career threatening injury with several World Cup podiums and a top World ranking of 5th. She has now established herself as one of the UK’s top Olympic snow sports athletes.

As the only two major north-west athletes in Pyeonchang, these two are the ones to watch and see how their progress can lead to medals in particular gold.