The expectations for this year’s Universiade were honestly very low. I came here to Strbske Pleso many years ago and it was more or less quite a run down facility from an era during the 70’s that would have looked like a promising affluent ski resort. It was all a bit sad really – I find it hard to see once great and promising places just being left to rot.
Amazingly now however, lots has changed! With huge developments and refurbishments it has actually turned out to be an awesome venue for these championships. Unfortunately, the big jump has still not been touched and appears to only be used as a satellite tower – a little sad for those who worked towards creating such an amazing structure. Who knows, there may be plans to give it the maintenance it deserves.
The opening ceremony was an absolute blast and being given the flag bearers role was an honour and something I had always wanted to do in my sporting career.
The Freestyle Sprint on Sunday was the first event of the champs. For the first time this season I felt like I was able to maintain the power and technique needed to put down a competitive time in the time – trial despite feeling completely flooded with lactic acid. Fortunately luck was on my side and I scraped into the finals by taking 30th fastest time with around 92 pts. This was my first ever Championship where I have qualified for heats and seeing the result gave me huge satisfaction. I then raced aggressively in my heat trying my chances up in the top 3 for most of the race but cooked out quite bad towards the end. To pick up an extra few positions to place 25th overall was a rewarding result irrespective. I have been struggling with sprinting due to the lack of training in that area due to the disrupted preparation I have had this year. To know that I am right back on track and to produce a sprint result which could well be considered a new Sprint PB for me gives me a lot of confidence heading into the next lot of races here. Huge Congrats to teammates Phil and Jess Yeaton for both achieving 8th!! Australia’s best ever Uni Games results. The skis were also honestly some of the best I have ever had so huge thanks to Randy, Mantra Wax and Radoslav!!
Tomorrow I will race the 10km classic but Sunday’s 30km skate is what I have been most excited about for a long time!