Southam, the only American other than Kris Freeman to start the 30km pursuit, skied to a solid 34th place finish. This result is on par with his performance at the World Championships in Liberec last year.
Despite this consistency, Southam was not entirely pleased with his race.
“The classic didn’t go as planned. I never felt quite in rhythm classic skiing out there.”
He was skiing right around 30th place when he fell, not long before the transition to skating, and he lost contact with the group he was skiing with.
He finally got into it during the second skate leg.
“I was skiing with a group of guys and was able to relax a little bit and was able to drop them. I felt good the last couple of laps skating.”
Southam noted that at World Championships he was skiing in the top-15 in the classic portion, and it wasn’t until the last quarter of the race that he faded. But the Olympic race was different.
“I was hoping for more, but the classic skiing was just not there,” the veteran said after the race.
“Quite honestly I think the courses last year suited me better. These have a lot of flat skiing and I’m a little guy.”
During the skate Southam would ski away from his nearby competitors on the big climbs, only to have them catch back up on the flats.
His focus all along has been on the 50k, and he is pleased with how his body has felt.
“I’m in good shape – I’m doing what I can. It hasn’t quite come together like I had hoped, but I’m not skiing terribly and my body felt good at the end of the race today.”
Southam has posted the top US finish in both distance races thus far.
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Topher Sabot is the editor of FasterSkier.
February 21, 2010 at 11:39 am
This “FasterSkier” is too much. You guys could write headlines for Fox News. He is 31 years old and finished a solid 34th? Really?
February 21, 2010 at 11:54 am
34th in the world is “solid” in my mind, and in line with his abilities. It is unreasonable to expect James to be on the podium. For James this was exactly what I said – a solid race – not a great one. You might not be happy with that result, but you need to evaluate it based on the individual, and the level he is at.
Yes we all want to see top-10’s, but that doesn’t mean we should be overly harsh on skiers who are not at the level.
February 21, 2010 at 1:59 pm
I watched this one from the side of the trail and thought ‘solid’ was a great description of Southam’s day. His skate looked a bit better than the classic, and he held his technique in the final lap. For Southam, who has never won on the world cup, I would reserve great for a top 20. FS is right to judge him against his demonstrated abilities and not against the favourites.
For comparison, Pietro PC had a rough day despite finishing higher. Kris Freeman had a brutal day, but I couldn’t help being in awe of his determination. Martin Koukal bailed early, apparently not interested in this event. Daniel Richardson had a great day, pushing the pace on the classic leg for his team before blowing up and getting passed by twenty skiers.
There were some skiers who had brilliant days, skiing well above expectations, like George Gray. Here’s hoping Southam finds his own brilliant day before the Olympics end, and enjoys that achievement even if it doesn’t include a medal.
February 21, 2010 at 2:40 pm
Yeah. I stand corrected. Solid participation. Like I said — Fox News.
February 21, 2010 at 3:00 pm
don’t feed the troll ^.
February 21, 2010 at 8:09 pm
I agree, 34th is a solid finish for James Southam in an Olympic event like this. Everyone has been focusing on Freeman, who has had problems, while Southam quietly goes about his business. Go get em in the 50K, James.
February 21, 2010 at 8:58 pm
Yeah Southam! Go Cougars!
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