We were delighted to get the following update from Iain following his successful time at the Youth Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway
The last two weeks have been an unforgettable experience. Qualifying for the Youth Olympics had been a long time personal goal and achieving it was massive step in my progress. The fortnight was amazing. It started with meeting the other athletes and the issuing of the Adidas team kit at Bisham Abbey. The Opening Ceremony in Lillehammer gave me an idea of the scale of the event and brought back memories of watching the London 2012 Opening Ceremony at home on TV.
Above: Iain in action in Lillehammer
Being with TeamGB athletes from other sports was a new thing for me and really brought a great feeling of team spirit. Event medal successes were celebrated by all of the athletes and support team together which was great. Beyond the GB athletes, there were skiers that I knew from previous international ski events and it was amazing to hold gold and silver medals won by friends from Switzerland, this has really motivated me to win an Olympic medal of my own in the future.
The two weeks were action packed and it didn’t feel like there was much downtime. The BBC had a film crew there and I was interviewed by Team GB’s Jenny Jones who won a medal at the Sotchi Olympics in 2104. On top of this I also had an interview with Lindsey Vonn (USA), the greatest ever female alpine ski racer, who has won 76 world cup events.
In my races, I started ok, ranked 35th, I finished 32nd in the first race, the Super Giant Slalom. It was icy and fast, so I was pleased. The following day was the Alpine Combined, one run of Super G plus one run of slalom; a discipline that demands skills at both ends of the spectrum – out and out speed, plus the technical ability to make short tight turns required in slalom. My super G run went ok, but unfortunately I straddled a gate toward the end of the slalom which meant I was disqualified.
Three days later came the GS race. Again the hill was steep and icy, and the course that had been set was particularly tight and turny. Having started bib 36, (meaning that on current seed points I was ranked 36th) I was very happy to finish in 17th place after two runs.
In the final race, the slalom, I was hoping to put in a good performance having made most progress this season in my slalom technique. I was ranked 38th in the field and, after a solid first run was in 20th place. In the second run I was determined to finish and perhaps held back a little but I held on to 20th position and was happy with my result.
Above: TSupport for Team Innes at the games – from left to right – Nikki Innes, Iain and Jackie Mackay
Getting two top 20 results in the Youth Olympics was really satisfying and my performance has improved my world ranking (seed points). Being part of TeamGB and an international event of this scale, has definitely inspired me and only boosted my desire to compete in the full Winter Olympics. The next full Winter Olympics are in 2 years’ time in PyeongChang in South Korea. Realistically this is a bit soon for me so the following games in Beijing in 2022 are the target I’m shooting for.
I’m pleased with the progress I’m making and really enjoying life. I realise how fortunate I am to have these opportunities, and genuinely can say it would be harder, if not impossible without support from people like The Mackay Clinic, so a big thank you for your support, it really does make a difference.
To see more photos from Lillehammer check out our gallery below