After returning to the podium in Dresden, Scottish skier Andrew Young aims for the 2022 Olympics.

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THE Cricketer defeats opponents yet again on six. But figuratively only.

The nickname of Andrew Young has little to do with his bat or ball ability, but it is a reference to the era when he was part of a British ski team that totally outshone his most prominent Swedish rivals.

“How does it feel,” in the aftermath, the defeated Swedish team manager was asked. “To be beaten by that cricket team?”

“He didn’t think it was that funny,” remembered Young with a chuckle. “But it’s become a bit of a running gag. Every time we turn the tide, it’s the cricketers again.”

So, relative to its Scandinavian and Central European counterparts, Britain may not have much of a backcountry in cross-country skiing, but they have one of the rising stars in the discipline in Young.

Last weekend in Davos, Switzerland, the Huntly-born skier, who had already competed in three Winter Olympics at 26, was back on the sprint podium, after a five-year absence.

Next weekend in Dresden, he will return to the snow for the final round of the World Cup, believing that the sacrifices he and the British team made during the year have finally been rewarded with a bronze medal.

It’s not like I didn’t try,”Someone asked me why it took me so long to get back on the sprint podium – it’s not like I didn’t try,”someone asked me why it took me so long to get back on the podium in the sprint.

“But to be there again was so great. In the final, I actually rode really well. Afterwards, the main emotions were relief, happiness and just tiredness after doing four rounds in one day just to get to the final. So after that, there wasn’t much to celebrate.

I already had another race the next day, so I was completely in recovery mode. Until Monday, on the way to Dresden, it did not drop a bit.

“It’s nice to get a tangible reward for your efforts, although I felt the team was on the right track before. Everyone has had a top-10 finish this year. It’s about the support staff, technicians, coaches, physios and everyone else. Every success is a team effort.”

In 2010, the 28-year-old moved to Trondheim, Norway, dividing much of his years between the two nations. Returning home to his parents in Aberdeenshire, he goes roller skiing on the lane, works out in the gym and runs in the summer, then heads to Norway’s slopes for the winter.

He reveals, “I’ve lived there for 10 years and they’ve now accepted me as an honorary Norwegian skier,”

“I ski for a club there and they treat me like a local. I can speak the language, although it took me a few years to learn it. My friends kept me on my toes and made fun of me when I said something wrong – that’s how you learn faster!”

None of his Norwegian skiing friends were in Davos and will not be in Dresden, because because of the pandemic, the Swedes and Finns are also staying away.

That’s surprising, particularly from the Norwegians, the largest and wealthiest team,”I find that surprising, especially from the Norwegians, who are the biggest and richest team,”

In rugby, they’re like the All Blacks. They’ve got a big budget and the best coaching staff. So you’d have thought they’d have found a discreet way to do it.

We made a seven-hour ride to Dresden from Davos on the team bus that we usually use for our gear. It’s just a three-seater, but it was just the two competitors and our physio, which was all right because we were all together in a bubble anyway. It is the most inconvenient van I’ve ever been in! Yet it was better than being with people you don’t know on a train or plane.

“If the small British team can find a way to deal with all the covid stuff, you’d think the big teams like Norway should be able to do the same. I don’t understand why those teams didn’t travel, but I don’t think you can judge them too harshly in these times.”

Young is still preparing for another Beijing 2022 Olympic presence and aims to build on previous results.

“For me, this is a very big goal. It’s going to be my fourth Olympics and I feel like I haven’t performed at my best yet. I was all right in Sochi, but in Vancouver and Pyeongchang I should have done better.

So I want to go and deliver to China what I know I’m capable of. And gigs like last weekend show me I’m on the right track.

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