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Torphins’ Alex Tilley says she’s out to ‘enjoy experience’ of Winter Olympics after 22nd-place finish in women’s giant slalom

Alex Tilley of Britain makes a turn during the second run of the women's giant slalom at the 2022 Winter Olympics.
Alex Tilley of Britain makes a turn during the second run of the women's giant slalom at the 2022 Winter Olympics.

Torphins skier Alex Tilley says she has turned her back on pursuing top places, instead focusing on enjoying an Olympic Games for the first time.

In the Beijing giant slalom, the 28-year-old safely negotiated a perilous first run that saw 19 of 80 skiers, including reigning champion Mikaela Shiffrin, fail to finish.

Tilley finished 28th on that first run in a time of 1 minute 1.4 seconds, comfortably qualifying for a second that was delayed by several hours due to the rescheduling of the men’s downhill race.

She returned with a 59.42 effort that saw her finish 22nd, having failed to finish either the slalom or giant slalom on Olympic debut in PyeongChang.

“I can’t be disappointed,” said Tilley. “A fractured fibula in November put me out for a good couple of months, but I’m back.

“I wanted to be back for the Games and I achieved that, but to expect a whole lot more from myself at the moment is just too big a stretch – we’ll take it.”

The ‘Ice River’ piste has been assailed by high winds in recent days, causing the postponement of the downhill.

Artificial snow has been laid for the athletes in Beijing, but Tilley had no complaints about conditions in Yanqing.

“It was really good,” she said. “It’s fair to say that everyone was a little bit shocked. We did a couple of runs yesterday in very different conditions to what it turned out to be today.

“You see a few equipment malfunctions and things like that, which is part of the game really.

“A lot of adjusting going on and a lot of people figuring it out quicker than others.”

Alex Tilley of Britain makes a turn during the second run of the women’s giant slalom.

Tilley changed her ski manufacturer over the summer in a bid to return to the top table and produced a World Cup giant slalom personal best of 13th at the season opener in Solden.

In an honest assessment of the trajectory of her career, Tilley appeared to some harbour some regrets.

“I have to be really honest, when I went to PyeongChang I didn’t necessarily enjoy my experience there,” she said.

“I knew that fighting to come back for this Games, I really wanted to make the most of the whole experience, not just the racing.

“Turns out that I have to enjoy the experience, because the racing isn’t going to be the performances that I want and that’s just where I’m at.

“I’ve loved it and I’ve really tried to make the most of it and I’ve met some awesome people, but obviously the skiing is not quite where I want it to be but that’s just what it is.”

Tilley is due to compete again in Wednesday’s slalom – alongside University of Aberdeen psychology student Charlie Guest, 28 – followed by the mixed team parallel event to close out her Games.

“We will see how we go with training,” she said. “I’ve got to manage the ankle a little bit, a certain number of days at a time.

“But the plan is to train and try the race again.”

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