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Bottomley sprints her heart out at third Games

11 February 2014

CROSS COUNTRY SKIING: Esther Bottomley made Australian Olympic history on Tuesday in Russia as she became the first female Cross Country athlete to race in the green and gold at three Winter Games.

The 31-year-old finished 56th in the Sprint Free Cross Country Qualification in a time of 2:50.54, as she missed out on the Finals.

Bottomley was 18.47 seconds off the leading mark set by Norway’s Maiken Caspersen Falla and 10.37 seconds outside of the top 30 necessary to make the Finals. 

In what were tough conditions out on the 1.4km course, Bottomley completed the circuit cleanly and was happy with her result. 

“I gave it everything I could out there so I’m happy with how I went. 

“The course is fantastic but it was pretty interesting with the conditions.

“It was sloppy and was like Australian middle-of-the-day Spring snow and a few of the girls didn’t handle that.” 

As she made history on the course she had some support in the stands pushing her home. 

“My folks are here and both the boys (Phil Bellingham and Callum Watson) parents are here which is fun.” 

“It is always great to have some support with them all in the stands yelling.” 

Knowing that a chance to represent your nation on the most prestigious stage doesn’t come around every day, Bottomley is still as excited to be wearing the Australian uniform in Sochi as she was at her first Games in Torino eight years ago.  

“I am still very proud to wear these colours. 

“I do handle all the pressures a lot better now that I have competed at the Olympics before. But you still get nervous at the start line and are ready to go. It’s a thrill.” 

Bottomley’s next and final event will be the 10km Classic on Thursday. 

“Tomorrow I will put on the Classic skis, which for me it has been a while, then I have the 10km race the next day on what is a very, very grueling course.” 

“Today was my favourite event and big hills aren’t my specialty so it’s going to be a tough race but I’ll do what I can.” 

Bottomley’s teammates Phil Bellingham and Callum Watson both also missed the Finals after finishing 55th and 85th in the Men’s Sprint Free Cross Country event. Watson did have a fall but luckily was only nursing some bumps and bruises after the event. Full story here>>>

Both the Women’s and Men’s Finals will get under way on Tuesday afternoon (local time).

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