British Ski-Cross champion Pam Thorburn took her first steps towards Winter Olympics qualification last week with a solid performance at the Freestyle World Cup in France.
The 26-year-old, from Strathaven, was in Megeve in the Rhône-Alpes for the first big event of 2013 and Pam managed to finish 24th overall to claim her first qualification mark for next year’s Games in Sochi, Russia.
Team GB’s selection policy involves skiers finishing inside the top 24 places at least three times over the course of the next year and Pam now needs two more good performances to make the grade.
In Megeve she qualified for the finals in 32nd position and finished third in her heat on finals day to take her up to 24th place overall.
And the former Strathaven Academy pupil, who changed disciplines from alpine skiing to ski-cross last year, was pleased with her result.
She told the News: “Things haven’t been easy this season, I jumped straight in with the World Cup races in December and have been learning and progressing in each one.
“I knew that I had it in me for some good results but was struggling with actually achieving them. This result just confirmed my progress and I’m happy it’s just getting better and better.
“To be 24th in the World is cool, but I know I can be much better.
“The great thing about my sport is that on the day, anyone can be the winner.”
However, after being overlooked for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Pam is keen to make sure of her place this time. She made the qualifying time for the alpine skiing squad, but selectors choose not to take her along to Vancouver, where she would have joined good friend Chemmy Alcott.
And with just under a year to go before Sochi, Pam is determined to raise her game. She added: “I need to go and make things happen and secure my place, so there is no confusion on whether I should be there or not.
“I want to be competitive at the Olympics – not just be there for the experience – so I’m pretty determined to make that happen.”
Pam now has a short break before going to Germany for two World Cup races, which begin on February 1.