Pyeongchang games 2018 – Circumstances led Alex Harvey and Louis Bouchard to face reporters in the mixed zone after the race.
- Alex, you did well, said the coach. You see, Dario Cologna has returned well today. From day to day, it changes.
- I just miss a little sparkle, replied the smelter.
Three days after his surprise elimination in the individual sprint, Harvey has reassured and reassured his entourage at the 15-kilometer freestyle of the PyeongChang Olympics Friday afternoon at the cross-country ski center of Alpensia.
A bit like the Sunday skiathlon, his effort was not enough to win the medal hoped for. The Saint-Ferreol-les-Neiges athlete was seventh at 35.5 seconds behind the winner, Switzerland’s Dario Cologna, who won the same event for the third time, an unprecedented achievement in men’s cross-country skiing.
“It’s sure that at the Games it’s one, two and three that matter,” said Harvey after a brief interaction with his coach. “After, it does not mean much anymore. I had a good race today, even a very good race. It just misses a little spark to get the podium.”
Unsurprisingly, the main players on Sunday Skiathlon were the same as at the individual start. Cologna could not follow Harvey when the Norwegians Martin Johnsrud Sundby and Hans Christer Holund fled in the penultimate climb. Friday, the Swiss was in a league apart.
“I was not 100% sure after my disappointing skiathlon,” said Cologna, now four-time Olympic champion. I was expecting a little better after the Ski Tour 1st and what I did in Seefeld 1st. I did not have legs at the end and maybe not skis like today’s, which were perfect. I was also a little tired, maybe because of the weather for a week. But all this is only speculation. Today was a perfect day.”
Third, at the first half-time (1.5km), Cologna dug such a half-way lead that his victory was no longer in doubt. He had the opportunity to look at himself on the huge giant screen before crossing the line in front of three-quarters full bleachers.
“Cologna was behind three or four days ago,” said Bouchard. It’s mostly the recovery. It plays very little at this level. You can recover a little more than the others and you win seven, eight seconds.”
Well done, Harvey gave himself a real chance to get on the podium. Fourth halfway through, he was within two seconds of third place. The 29-year-old did not manage to find “extra speeds” at the end of the event. He crossed the four loops in 34: 19.4, 12.5 seconds behind the bronze medalist, the Russian Denis Spitsov, 21 years old.
Harvey said. I did not break, I did not explode. It’s just when you’re in a great day, it’s the last two or three kilometers where you accelerate at the end of the race. Me, I have the impression that I stayed at the same pace.”
Norway’s Simen Hegstad Krueger continued his dream Olympics by winning silver, finishing 18.3 seconds behind Cologna. “I came to the Olympics dreaming of maybe winning an individual medal,” he said. There, I start with a gold and a silver at my first two competitions. It’s almost too crazy to be true.”
Eighth and seventh in his first two distance events at the Games, Harvey will have another chance to win a medal in the 50km on Saturday, February 24th. To do this, the world champion will have to find the famous spark.
“It’s hard to explain what to do to get it,” said Harvey. I think it’s just a big day, a good day, but I know it’s not far. Of course, the goal is to make a podium.”