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.
Topher Sabot is the editor of FasterSkier.