Ben Tudhope already has a Winter Paralympic bronze medal around his neck. Now he’s chasing another – and preferably of a different colour.
The 22-year-old briefly enjoyed the glow of his breakthrough medal at his third Games in the para snowboard cross, then got straight back to work.
After a long build-up to the snowboard cross, Tudhope relished moving onto banked slalom – and was even happier when it got brought forward a day to Friday amid rising temperatures.
“There is a lot of weight off my shoulders, to get this boarder cross medal and achieve a massive goal of mine: a Paralympic medal,” said Tudhope.
“But still there’s going to be a lot to bring to this banked slalom race.
“Everyone’s a contender, I don’t look at myself as higher than any of my competitors. I just want to make it hard for anyone to beat me.
“To have the banked slalom pushed forward a day (due to weather) is really good. I know everyone is going to ride well and it’s going to be close but I’m definitely ready to send it.”
Coach Par Sundqvist told AAP the 21-turn Zhangjiakou banked slalom course was a “leg burner”, while Tudhope likened it to a “long snake.”
“It’s a lot of fun to ride and a lot of athletes talk about flow and if you can find the flow to this course, that’s the key to success,” he said.
“It’s not how hard you push it. If you’re smooth and good on this course, that’s the key to success.
“That’s how I want to ride, is not push it, not overdo it but just find my rhythm, find my flow and I think that will set me up well.”
Tudhope hopes to share the podium with close mates Matti Suur-Hamari and Alex Massie, something that last happened at X Games in 2016, before they formed ‘Team Unicorn’.
“As a team, we have never achieved that goal of going 1-2-3,” he said.
“It’s pretty much one of us on the podium at every event but as a team we haven’t done that.
“So the chances are getting slimmer, but you can never count out Team Unicorn.”
Tudhope’s friends and family tuned in to Monday’s gutsy bronze medal effort from a watch party in Manly.
Given the Friday timeslot (1.30pm AEDT) for the next watch party, Tudhope expects a rowdier affair.
“I’m sure they’ll be out in full force,” he said.
“I think there were a couple too many champers (champagnes) on Monday. But Friday, it’s time to go all-out.”