Winter Olympics: Australians struggle in cross-country skiing, slalom in tough day at Beijing

Headshot of Mitchell Woodcock
Mitchell WoodcockThe West Australian
Australian  Phil Bellingham competes in the Men's Cross-Country Team Sprint Classic Semifinals.
Camera IconAustralian Phil Bellingham competes in the Men's Cross-Country Team Sprint Classic Semifinals. Credit: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Australia has missed out on qualifying for the final in both the men’s and women’s cross-country skiing team sprints in Beijing on Wednesday.

The men’s team of Phil Bellingham and Seve de Campo finished in 11th after a tight semifinal race which at one stage had first just a little over three seconds in front of 12th.

In the end the Australians had to settle for 11th in an excellent showing, finishing the race in just over 21 minutes.

In the women’s sprint, Australians Jess Yeaton and Casey Wright came in eighth in their semifinal and 18th overall.

Yeaton and Wright put up an excellent fight, but were two minutes behind the eventual leader and missed out on a spot in the final.

Meanwhile, Australian Louis Muhlen-Schulte in the men’s slalom did not complete his first run to crash out of the competition earlier in the day.

Having equaled the best ever effort by an Australian in the giant slalom on Sunday, there was high hopes for Muhlen-Schulte, but unfortunately he straddled at the first gate, meaning he did not finish the run.

 Louis Muhlen-Schulte did not complete a run in the men’s slalom
Camera Icon Louis Muhlen-Schulte did not complete a run in the men’s slalom Credit: Adam Pretty/Getty Images

It was tough conditions for all competitors, with 16 of the 68 not completing a run.

“There was a pretty tough set to begin with,” Muhlen-Schulte told the Olympics website.

“Then when you add in the difficulty of the really slick surfaces in spots, and then it kind of has that bit of hard grip to it when there’s such cold snow on the top.

“So it for sure makes it trickier and more unforgiving, but it’s just one of those things you always try to adapt with.”

It’s one of many lessons he wants to act on from the Olympics to make himself a better athlete.

“It’s a huge learning curve, just in terms of obviously the competition but also how to adapt and deal with it. You’re just trying to improve every day, gain as much knowledge and experience of the courses, and of the environment on the circuit.”

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