For Scottish skier EMMA CARRICK-ANDERSON, the Winter Olympics provide a glorious opportunity to go downhill all the way.
Words: Lorin McDougall
Zigzagging through dozens of red and blue gates down an icy, near- vertical slope is hazardous enough for any slalom skier, but more difficult still is attempting this without the support of a team. Just ask Scotland’s Emma C'arrick- Anderson, Britain’s sole representative on the women’s World Cup circuit, which is dominated by the large, well- funded squads of the traditional Alpine nations.
The bubbly 22-year-old from Dunblane is not one to seek sympathy, but — on the line from training in Austria — she explodes the myth that international ski racing is all glamour.
‘I drove for a total of 40 hours last week,’ she says. as if to emphasise the point. ‘I’d love to have a team around me, with everybody motivating each other and having a giggle. My main sponsor is Airtours, so I’ve been lucky, but we’re lacking finance in Britain, and I can’t see us every being a strong team. It’s hard to do everything on your own, so maybe next year I’ll be able to pay for a friend to travel with me. Sometimes it’s very lonely in hotel rooms, with four walls and no TV.’
The adrenalin rush from a clean, fast run — particularly in a major championship — makes it all worthwhile. Indeed, Garrick-Anderson ﬁrst made her mark as a teenager at the I992 Winter Olympics in France, where she excelled in the combined downhill and slalom event.
'l'm not setting any goals for the Olympics. My aim is to ski well and the results will come.’ Emma
‘Ninety-two was really exciting,’ she recalls. ‘I was really young, with no experience and no hopes. But I enjoyed it and got some good results. I would say, though, that eleventh place in the slalom at last year’s World Championships in Italy was a far bigger achievement, especially coming sixth on the second run — [just want that to happen again.’
Unfortunately her form going into this month’s Olympics in Japan is patchy. ‘l’ve not had a great season so far,’ she admits. ‘The World Cup circuit is the top level, and climbing into the top 30 is the
88 THELIST 6-19 Feb 1998
Ice maiden: Emma Carriclt-Anderson heads for the Winter Olympics
hardest jump of all. Having seven races cancelled in a row didn’t help either. But I’m not skiing badly. and I usually seem to compete well in the big competitions, so I’m going to Nagano in a positive frame of mind.‘
A convincing victory at the recent National Championships in Tignes boosted her morale. but she remains realistic about her chances in Japan. ‘I’m not setting any goals for the Olympics.’ she explains. ‘I didn’t set goals in Sestriere last year, so now. like then. my aim is to ski well and the results will come.’
For once, she won’t lack company at the Games. as eight other skiers — including Graham Bell. Andrew Freshwater. Alain Baxter and Sophie Ormond — have been named in the British team. Carrick-Anderson is also looking forward to next month’s European Cup ﬁnals. which are due to be held in Scotland.
‘l’d love to compete at home because all my friends are here,’ she admits. ‘It would make such a change - me in my home country and the others stuck at the hotel.’
The Winter Olympics at Nagano, Japan, will be broadcast on BBC TV, Sat 7-Sun 22 Feb. The Women‘s Slalom is on Thu 19 Feb
Events are listed alphabetically by sport, then by da . Fixtures are correct at time o publication. but ma be affected by weather. Sport listings compiled by Brian Donaldson.
FOOTBALL Saturday 7 SCOTTISH PREMIER LEAGUE Aberdeen v Hibernian Pittodrie Stadium. Pittodrie Street. Aberdeen. 3pm. Dundee United v Motherwell Tannadice Park. Tannadice Street. Dundee. 3pm. Kilmarnock v St Johnstone Rugby Park, Rugby Road. Kilmarnock. 3pm. Rangers v Dunfermline lbrox Park. Edmiston Drive, Glasgow. 3pm. scornsu FIRST orvisron Airdrie v Hamilton Accies Broadwood Stadium, Cumbernauld. 3pm. Falkirk V Morton Brockville Park. Ho )e Street. Falkirk. 3 m. Raith Rovers v Partic Thistle Starks Park, Pratt Street. Kirkcaldy. 3pm. St Mirren v Ayr United St Mirren Park. Love Street. Paisley. 3pm. Stirling Albion v Dundee Forthbank Stadium, Springkerse Industrial Estate. Stirling, 3pm.
SCOTTISH PREMIER LEAGUE
Hearts v Celtic Tynecastle Park, Gorgie Road, Edinburgh. 3pm. Hearts will be looking both for revenge for the tannings inflicted upon them this season by Wim Jansen‘s men as well as a lift to their own title aspirations. ()n the other hand. this is the kind of match Celtic simply have to win if Walter Smith is to retire from his Ibrox post without that tenth title.
TENNENT'S SCOTTISH CUP FOURTH ROUND
Airdrie v Dundee Broadwood Stadium. Cumbernauld. 3pm.
Ayr United v Ktlmarnock Somerset Park. Tryﬁeld Place. Ayr. 3pm. A local clash in a cup tie always makes fora heady brew and these rivals are as bitter as they get. With Pat Nevin missing and the tradition of cup holders tumbling at an early stage. there is every chance for an upset.