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Olivier wraps up her Games with 31st spot in the slalom
- Updated: February 19, 2016
By Mark Etheridge
South Africa’s sole competitor at the 2016 Winter Youth Olympics, Elizabeth Olivier said goodbye to the slopes of Lillehammer, Norway with a 31st place finish in the slalom on Thursday.
That after ending 36th in the giant slalom two days previously.
Going into the Games, the Barkly East teenager had made no bones about the fact that the slalom was her favourite of the two daunting disciplines.
Thursday saw her ending 37th out of the 40 finishers with a time of 1:15.00sec as Switzerland’s Aline Danioth was clocked at 53.53.
The attritional nature of the sport can be seen by the fact that there were 13 Did-Not-Finishes, one Did-Not-Star and one Disqualification recorded after that first run.
Her second run was noticeably quicker at 1:09.12 and gave her a total combined time of 2:24.12 for 31st of 34 finishers. Danioth also won the second run with a total combined time on the day of 1:43.21 as Canada’s Ali Nullmeyer was runner-up in 1:44.80.
An excited Olivier told Road to Rio 2016 late on Thursday night: ‘The courses were really long and icy but manageable. My 31st place finish is an improvement on Tuesday’s results so I’m happy.
‘I had so much fun today… as the pressure was less and the slalom is my favourite event. I just want to thank everybody who helped and supported me this far.’
The Sentraal Hoërskool pupil in Bloemfontein will now be able to kick off her ski-boots and enjoy the remainder of the Games which end on Sunday.
‘I’ll definitely be staying to the end. I’m learning so much here. The “Learn and Share” programme is amazing and I’ve been meeting so many people and athletes from different countries.’
Another proud South African was coach Alex Heath. Himself a former Winter Olympian, Heath was happy with his charge’s form. ‘We were greeted by world class conditions today… far from easy but still as about as good as it gets.
‘Elizabeth started in bib 45 out of the 56 girls and moving up to 37th after the first run,’ he told Road to Rio 2016. The first run was a very tight and turn course which Elizabeth did well to finish.
‘On the second run which was a slightly more open and rhythmical set, she skied very well and moved up to finish 31st.
‘I’m very proud of her achievements here. She’s proven to the world that we can be a part of it, even though we come from a summer sporting nation.’
Picture courtesy of Johan Olivier