Cross-country news - 27/7/10
Fiona Hughes' Winter Olympics report

The 2009/2010 season was the second season that I have spent skiing abroad full time. Despite winning my first race of the season in Bruksvallarna, I had a slow start to the season. I wasn’t feeling as energetic whilst racing as I thought I should be, and as a result wasn’t quite getting the results I was hoping for. At the beginning of December I moved from being based in Norway and racing across Scandinavia to central Europe. Although the snow wasn’t quite as good, I soon found better form and began to see the race results that I knew were possible. These results included an additional 3 podium positions in international junior events, including the Swiss Junior National Championships. I also got 3 top 12 positions in junior continental cup races. When I first competed in these races in 2006 I came last so a significant improvement is evident.  

This year was my last year competing at the World Junior Championships. In the distance events I came 41st and 42nd, which were the best every results for a British female at this event. Although I had been hoping for slightly better finish positions I was pleased with how I skied. 

During December and January my good results meant that I obtained the qualification standard to represent Great Britain at the Olympics. In late January I found that I had been selected to go to compete in Vancouver, although due to being busy with racing this did not sink in until I was on the plane to Canada! 

The Team GB holding camp was in Calgary, and while I was there I raced in my first World Cup event, after qualifying to compete in them in Switzerland in December. I found my first world cup weekend in Canmore challenging, but enjoyed it, and found it good preparation for competing in the 10km skate at the Olympics.Your browser may not support display of this image.

I spent 3 weeks in total living in the athlete’s village in Whistler. The village hosted all the sports based out of Vancouver, and had really good facilities for everyone staying there: a very large and well equipped gym, a food hall that was open 24 hours a day, a medical centre and plenty of entertainment. I shared a room with Amy Williams, Great Britian’s only medallist of the games, and enjoyed her company during my time there. 

I only qualified to compete at one event at the Olympics, the 10km freestyle time trial, which was on the first Monday of the games. I had the race of my life. Apart from Your browser may not support display of this image. tripping over another girls’ skis going round the final corner into the stadium I skied better than I had done all season. I felt strong on the climbs and managed to keep my technique together when I tired. All the many years of hard work definitely paid off, but this definitely isn’t the end. It’s made me hungry to do more, and I’ll be doing my best to compete at Sochi in 2014. 

Your browser may not support display of this image.After competing in Vancouver, I spent the next two weeks continuing to train, but also enjoying being at the Olympics. I managed to go and see lots of other events, including the biathlon, skeleton, bobsleigh and ski jumping, as well as spending some time with my family who had come out to watch me compete. The closing ceremony was a fun way to end my time in Canada, making up for the fact that I didn’t attend the opening ceremony. Luckily the Canadians beat the Americans in the ice hockey final so the atmosphere was electric!

The Olympics was not the end to my season. I continued competing in Slovenia and Finland, but unfortunately wasn’t quite on the same form as I had been in Canada. 

Thank you to everyone at the Yorkshire Dales Ski Club for all the support you’ve given me over the past few years, and for all the kind emails I received in the lead up to the games.