Laidlaw turns frustration into 'super stoked'

20 January 2012

Melbourne skier Harry Laidlaw bounced from a frustrating few days at the Winter Youth Olympic Games in Innsbruck, with a scorching run in Ski Cross qualification today.

The extremely talented 15-year-old has had a busy Games schedule competing in the full program of alpine events as well as being entered in Ski Cross as a secondary event if the schedule permitted.

On Thursday he was determined to get a good result in the Giant Slalom after two good days of training for the event and with his parents Sarah and Mark watching on. Only if he had a problem with his first run would he revert to plan b and travel the hour to another resort to make the qualification for Ski Cross.

Disappointingly he slide out on the top-third of the course and failed to finish his 1st run. On this positive this meant he would be able to travel the one-hour to the Kuhtai Resort in time for Ski Cross qualification which is his secondary focus here for the Games.

With a point to prove, 15-year-old Laidlaw had a sensational run, blitzing the course in 57.43 seconds.

His time was fourth fastest overall giving him a good seeding for Friday’s head to head racing.

“It was pretty good,” an understated Laidlaw said of his fantastic performance. “I wasn’t really expecting much so I am super stoked.”

Laidlaw is a newcomer to the sport of ski cross but has taken to the freestyle discipline with ease.

“I don’t have a lot of experience with the head to head racing,” he said. “But I like it!”

He will be joined in the final by his 16-year-old roommate in the Athltes' Village Jack Millar who placed 13th with a time of 59.46.

The men will race in four heats of four athletes, with the top two progressing to semi-finals. Due to forecasted bad weather, the heats will commence at 11.30am Friday.

Laidlaw who moved to Vermont in the United States this year to study at Burke Mountain Ski School can salvage a good result from his first major international competition. If he can proceed to at least the semi-finals (top-8).

The great thing about Innsbruck 2012 for Laidlaw is the learning he is experiencing everyday and how he can work on certain aspects of his performance for the future. He certainly has the ability but after not posting a result so far from three alpine events he was needing a confidence boost.

A medal in the Ski Cross would erase the bad luck he has had in alpine to date. His final event is on Saturday in the Slalom.

Andrew Reid