Indian skier happy to finish after snowy Olympic race
“It was a little tough today with the weather, the snow,” Khan said. “You could barely see what was next to the doors. Guys coming down earlier, sometimes they make those icy ruts.
“If you try to maintain your speed and (take) other chances, you hit a rut, you come out, like you saw today. My goal was more to finish the race until the end , and I did.
Only one of the 46 skiers who completed both runs had a slower combined time than Khan – Benjamin Alexander, 38, who races for Jamaica and only skied for the first time six years ago.
Eight skiers did not finish the second run and 33 went out in the first as snow fell for the first time in an alpine ski race at this year’s Olympics.
“Being less aggressive was the total strategy this time,” Khan said. “You can go fast in a race where you’re about to compete and win, but here it was more about winning.
“I normally ski better than the way I was skiing today, but today was representing the country, finishing the race, it was all about that.”
Khan, who will also compete in the slalom on Wednesday, is the only Indian athlete at the Beijing Games and the first from the country to qualify for two events at the Winter Olympics.
“In India, we have a population of 1.4 billion people and I am representative of all this population. It means a lot to me,” Khan said.
Khan, 31, grew up in Gulmarg, Kashmir, where his father runs a travel agency and ski equipment store.
And Khan said his main goal in Beijing was to encourage people to see his hometown as a winter sports resort.
“It will inspire the next generation and make India a ski destination for the rest of the world,” he said. “That was my main motivation to be here at the Olympics, (to) present my country as a ski destination.
“We have high mountains, huge mountains, with gondolas and chairlifts… I try to promote more alpine racing there.”
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