Callum Smith sat in the snow as his hopes of winning a Winter Olympic medal on his debut ran cold.
The skiathlon athlete would be consoled by a warm appreciation felt for the success of compatriot Jenny Jones, who became Britain's first medallist of the Games by claiming bronze in the inaugural women's snowboard slopestyle final.
That result was confirmed just as Smith began the 30km cross-country skiathlon. He would cross the finish line on the coattails of that success but was unable to dress it up any further since he placed 62nd in the with a time of one hour 17 minutes 37.1seconds. Dario Cologna won gold after finishing more than nine minutes faster.
Loading article content
Smith had shown a great appetite for the sport as he made his debut but would be unable to eat up the distance between himself and more experienced competitors. At 21, only four of the 68 skiers who started are younger than him. He is not short on motivation, though, and has taken heart from the performances of Jones, as well as cross-country skier Andrew Musgrave, who won the sprint race at the Norwegian Championships last month.
"It is certainly exciting to hear of the successes of the other Brits on the team," said Smith. "I have never met Jenny but it is great that Team GB are doing well. My race was pretty tough. It was okay but maybe not my best performance. I started off pretty hard and I think maybe that was a little bit of a mistake.
"The selection to get into this race is pretty hard and a lot of the smaller nations don't even compete. It was certainly not a bad race; it just wasn't my best."
Smith will now prepare himself to compete in the sprint and time trial events. "I was certainly nervous but just as it was my first race," he added.
Elsewhere Dundee-based Jenna McCorkell produced a season's best 50.09 in the short programme of the team figure skating, although Britain did not advance to the free skate.