Amanda Lightfoot admitted nothing could wipe the smile off her face as she made her Olympic debut – not even seeing her Sochi schedule reduced by an event.
Lightfoot, who lives in South Shields, had planned to race biathlon’s sprint, pursuit and individual at least in Russia but did not do enough in the first of those to ensure a three-pronged campaign.
She placed 75th in the 7.5km sprint when a top-60 finish was needed to qualify for the pursuit, her time of 24:48.9minutes more than 70 seconds slower than required.
So three becomes two for Lightfoot in Sochi – although just simply appearing at the Olympics for the first time after a mere seven years in the sport was enough.
Lightfoot said: “I missed two in the prone shoot and three in total – far too many for me.
“It happens and I am still really happy to be here.
“I can’t take the smile off my face, even though I missed three times. It was a really tough course.
“The course itself is nice, they have made a lot of changes to it from last year, but the altitude really got to my lungs. I found that tough.
“I think my skiing went considerably well. I have had a lot of sickness this year leading up to the Olympics so it hasn’t been the ideal preparation but I thought I skied quite well considering.”
Lightfoot, who serves in the army’s Adjutant General’s Corps, will make her last remaining outing in Sochi in the 15km individual on Valentine’s Day.
The 27-year-old insists she is already itching to get back out on the stunning course at the Laura Cross Country Ski and Biathlon Center in Russia.
She added: “I knew it was going to be really tough to get to the pursuit. The girls out there had good shoots. Miss one, you have a chance, miss three you’re out which is unfortunate and I am gutted.
“I will have a bit more of a build-up towards the individual and hopefully it will go well. I am psyched - I can’t wait for another race.
“I started behind [eight-time world champion] Tora Berger but it didn’t really affect me.”
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