Thomas Maloney Westgaard ends Ireland’s Olympics by achieving top 30 goal

Westgaard finishes 29th in cross country skiing 50km mass start free on Saturday

Thomas Maloney Westgaard rounded out Ireland’s Olympics with a 29th place finish. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

Thomas Maloney Westgaard closed out Ireland’s involvement at the Winter Olympics with a 29th-place finish in the cross country skiing 50km mass start free, though the event was reduced to 28km due to the strong winds and low temperature.

The Russian Olympic Committee completed a one-two to secure gold and silver while Norway’s Simen Hegsted Krueger took bronze.

Speaking after the race, Maloney Westgaard outlined how he had fulfilled his goal of a top 30 finish.

“It was a race to remember for sure, in many ways” he said. “I’m really happy with my performance, first ever top 30 in a skate race. That was the goal before the race, to come top 30 and I managed it. So I’m really, really happy.


“It was a struggle out there. At some stages I was happy that it wasn’t the 50km, but yeah, it was a cold experience and tough conditions, but we are quite used to it. It’s quite windy in Galway as well, so we are prepared for this.

“I knew that in the group we were racing for everything from 28th to 34th place. And it’s a big difference to be in those positions for a cross-country skier. When you are in the top 30, everyone considers you as a good skier. So when we were in that group I tried to be a bit more tactical, to stay more in the middle of the group and to have a good position, not going too early.

“I knew that in the last two kilometres there is a really long hill of about 600m. I knew that you can do an awful lot in that last kilometre if you have your energy, so the main thing for me was to spare that energy and then just go for the last 500m. And I really did that, I think I made the right decision there, and I had absolutely nothing left when I crossed the finish line.”

Maloney Westgaard’s 14th place in the 15km classic race last week, as well as Jack Gower’s 12th place in the alpine combined bettered Ireland’s previous skiing results in the thirty years of Winter Olympic participation.

The Closing Ceremony takes place on Sunday.