Cyprus Mail

Hopes dashed for Cyprus’ only Winter Olympian

alpine skiing men's giant slalom run 1
Alpine skier Yianno Koumoudjian is Cyprus’ only representative at the Beijing Games

Yianno Koumoudjian, Cyprus’ only participant in the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, failed to finish the Men’s Slalom on Wednesday morning.

The 25-year-old recorded a ‘Did Not Finish’ on his first run, which barred a second attempt.

“I sat back a bit and the edge of my ski caught the snow,” said Koumoudjian, speaking to the Cyprus Mail after the race. “This forced me off course, and I was unable to finish the race.”

Considered to be more technical that the Downhill and Super G, which are based on speed, slalom races require skiers to pass through tightly-packed gates in exactly the right order.

“You can have the best training and preparation and equipment in the world, and still get a Did Not Finish if you fall or miss a gate,” said Koumoudjian, speaking to the Cyprus Mail.

The race was won by Clement Noel of France whose combined time of 1:44:09 earnt him gold ahead of silver medallist Johannes Strolz of Austria with 1:44.70, and bronze medallist Sebastian Foss-Solevaag of Norway, with a time of 1:44.79.

In Sunday’s Men’s Giant Slalom, Koumoudjian’s combined time of 2:42.51 saw the Cypriot take 42nd place. Just pipping Turkish athlete Berkin Usta to the post, Koumoudjian beat out 48 other competitors in total. The race was won by Marco Odermatt with a combined time of 2:09.35.

In an interview with the Mail before the race, Koumoudjian acknowledged that he would be competing against the best Alpine skiers in the world, and merely hoped to do his country proud.

“I’m competing against athletes from Austria and Italy who literally grew up on the piste; you can’t beat that experience. Honestly, I’m just excited to be here. Being a part of the Games, being able to compete and represent my country, do my best for Cyprus and for the people who supported me on my journey is enough.

After the race, he added: “It feels amazing to be able to ensure a final ranking for my country in such a big event.”

Both the Slalom and Giant Slalom competitions took place at the Yanqing National Alpine Ski Centre, 90 kilometres north of Beijing.

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