New Zealand's Adam Barwood has finished 26th in the men's slalom at the Sochi Games.
Barwood, who was 50th after the first run earlier in the day, made his way down the tricky Rosa Khutor course in 1min 1.97seconds.
Even though it was over seven seconds slower than his first run, Barwood was able to pick up 24 spots as competitors failed to complete the course. Only 45 of 115 athletes successfully completed both runs.
"It didn't really cross my mind. In ski racing there's always a chance of something going wrong but it wasn't too bad," Barwood said.
Barwood, the last Kiwi in action at the 22nd Winter Olympiad, skied 54.21 seconds in his first run, 7.51 seconds behind first run leader Mario Matt of Austria. Matt won gold, finishing 14.34 seconds ahead of Barwood.
The course almost got the better of Barwood in his second run, as he looked in serious trouble early in the top section. However, determined to finish and managing the recovery after each stumble, he held on. His final placing of 26th from a start position of 63 marked a personal best and far exceeded his expectations.
"I was really just trying to get down there," he explained after the race." It was pretty tough but I survived it.
"I'm definitely happy to have made it."
Coach Chris Mosaed put Barwood's success down to his positive attitude.
"He just fought through to the finish.
"He didn't give up. The snow conditions aren't the best at the moment and the course set is really challenging and that's what it finds, it finds the best out of people. The Olympics are about finding the best and Adam showed that tonight."
Barwood's result is the 10th best result for a New Zealand ski racer at the Olympics and the best since Claudia Riegler's 11th place finish in slalom in 2002.
Barwood finished 44th in the men's giant slalom three days ago.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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