The skier Imanol Rojo could not have had a better debut in his third Olympic Games. The skier from Tolosa has more than fulfilled the goal he set himself before arriving in Beijing in 2022 and has finished the skiathlon 15km + 15km in the twenty-first position. A result that not only confirms the good form he has been in for a couple of seasons now but also represents the best Spanish Olympic record of all time in this discipline.
Before going out to compete, Imanol was clear that he came with better sensations and expectations than in his previous participations. And he was not wrong. Experience is a degree and that has been reflected in the Zhangjiakou National Cross-Country Skiing Centre, where the man from Tolosa has shown his best version to improve by up to 28 places his result in Sochi 2014, where he finished 49th, and by 29 places in Pyeongchang 2018, where he finished 50th.
“The goal was to improve on the other Games and I’ve improved on that by far. The truth is that for a debut in Beijing it went very, very well and I’m very happy. Despite not having the best sensations, I’m almost in the top 20, so I can’t ask for more”, he said after finishing the race.
The Spaniard completed the 15 km classic in a time of 42:15.2, arriving at the ski change in 25th position. However, in the 15 km of free technique, he felt much more comfortable and was able to climb several positions, even being in the Top-20 during the second part of the race. Finally, Imanol stopped the clock at 1:21:09.2, finishing in the twenty-first position.
“It was very cold and the snow was very slow, but despite that, we went very fast. Personally, I felt good in the last part and it was a pity that in the classic I couldn’t be further ahead to fight with the Top-15 group”, she concluded.
The gold medal went to the Russian Alexander Bolshunov with a time of 1:16:09.8; the silver to his compatriot Denis Spitsov with a time of 1:17:20.8 and the bronze to the Finnish Iivo Niskanen who stopped the clock in 1:18:10.0.
Imanol Rojo’s next commitment at the Beijing 2022 Olympic Games will be on Friday, 11 February, when he competes in the 15km classic.