Chrystal satisfied with giant slalom performance in Sochi

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SUSF Elite Athlete Program (EAP) scholarship holder Lavinia Chrystal put together two solid runs to finish 40th overall in the women’s giant slalom event held yesterday (Tuesday) at the 2014 Sochi Winter Games.

Fighting against not only 88 competitors, but also against snow, fog and driving rain, Chrystal finished the two run format with a combined time of 2:48.57, 11.7 seconds off Slovenia’s Tina Maze.

Chrystal dealt best with the conditions amongst the three competing Australian’s, with teammates Greta Small and Emily Bamford finishing in 41st and 50th positions.

Chrystal, a Master of Management student at The University of Sydney, was more than satisfied with her performance on the Rosa Khutor Alpine Center slopes, where just 66 of 88-strong field completed the challenging course.

“I am really happy with today,” the 24-year-old. “I overtook people in front of me (higher ranked athletes) and no one behind me jumped ahead of me so I’m pretty stoked about that.”

Chrystal now plans to rest-up with her teammates before she launches into competition again, this time in the slalom event on Friday night (AEDT).

“It will be a great atmosphere, my slaloms have been going really well and we have been all having some awesome training here,” added Chrystal.

Also competing on day 11 of the Games was former SUSF EAP scholarship holder Astrid Radjenovic (nee Loch-Wilkinson).

Radjenovic paired up with two-time Summer Olympian Jana Pittman in the women’s bobsleigh and the pair sit in 14th place after the first two heats.

Conditions on the Sanki Sliding Center track were ‘slushy’ with steady rain falling and mild temperatures. It meant times for all teams were slower than at training.

Radjenovic was pleased with her driving, particularly the second run, but the three time Winter Olympics bobsleigh pilot believes that she can make a few adjustments for improved runs tomorrow.

“The second run was definitely a little stronger,” explained the 31 year old.  

“We were hoping to be a few rankings higher at this point but we pushed pretty well and the driving was okay so I think our start list in the first run was the thing that really killed that time.

“We were 14th to start and the ice really deteriorated in these conditions after the top 10, so our good push time didn’t really result in the fast downtime that we were after.”

With two more runs due to take place tomorrow morning (Thursday 3.15am AEDT), Radjenovic and Pittman will become Australia’s most successful ever bobsleigh team if they are able to improve their final position to 13th in the 19-team field.  

Radjenovic holds the best Australian result of 14th with Kylie Reed at the 2006 Torino Games and she is relishing the Sochi experience compared to previous Games.

“This is definitely much more enjoyable for me,” Radjenovic explained. “I’ve had a better preparation, I’ve got a great teammate, (and) our equipment’s pretty decent. I want to improve on my best result of 14th from Torino so we’ll come out and try and do that tomorrow.”