Murphy targets improved performance
Tucker Murphy, the Bermuda cross-country skier, is pumped up for the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
Murphy, 32, qualified for his second successive Games after reaching the B standard in the 15-kilometre freestyle in France this month.
He placed 88th in the 15km freestyle at the previous Winter Olympics in Vancouver and if all goes accordingly hopes to do better this time around.
“Of course, as an athlete you always desire more, and I am training with the goal of improving on my performance and points four years ago,” Murphy said.
“I am thrilled and feel very lucky to have another opportunity to compete at the Games in a sport I am very passionate about.”
Murphy, one of only three Bermudians to compete at the Winter Olympics, is pleased with his preparations in the lead up to the Games. “Overall, I am reasonably satisfied,” he said. “My fitness was pretty good coming off the summer triathlon season. This winter has been hectic trying to convert that fitness into the best ski specific shape possible while also working out travel in foreign countries and languages in order to get the points necessary to qualify.
“Fortunately, I have been staying put in Val di Fiemme over the past week, which is a fantastic place to ski and has also provided an opportunity to rest and fit in a good block of training.”
Flying Bermuda’s banner at the Games is something Murphy takes great pride in doing.
“I am very proud to have qualified to represent our small island nation,” he said. “Beyond qualification itself, this opportunity reflects the hard work and support of a number of Bermudians.
“The Bermuda Olympic Association not only selects the team, but they also take on the large logistical tasks and challenges that accompany Olympic competition. My father [Michael], who originally wrote the constitution to form the Bermuda Winter Ski Association, has also done a great deal of work on the logistical side and to ensure we meet all of the FIS requirements.
“Finally, there are many excellent athletes in Bermuda — too many to name individually — who I have trained with, competed against or who have given me encouragement or advice. Without such support and training partners in Bermuda, I would have stopped long ago.”
Murphy is determined not to let threats of terrorism from militants deter him from representing his country in Sochi.
“I had an opportunity to visit the Olympic Museum the other week as it was near a race site,” Murphy said. “There, it is apparent that the modern Olympic movement is not simply about sporting excellence.
“Although that Olympic ideal sometimes gets distorted, it is something I have certainly experienced competing as the lone skier for a small island nation. At races this winter I have received great friendship, help with travel and ski preparation, and hospitality from nationalities as varied as the Spanish, British, Brazilians, Argentines, Germans, Chileans, Serbians and Swiss. It is unfortunate that spirit has been threatened in Sochi.”
Earlier this month, two men, alleged to have orchestrated last month’s suicide attacks that killed at least 34 in the Russian city of Volgograd, appeared in a video donning explosive belts and warning Vladimir Putin, the Russian President, and visiting tourists to expect a “present” at next month’s Games from fighters following their example.
Murphy will be accompanied in Russia by Chuck Millican, the chef de mission, and his father who will serve as team manager.
Patrick Singleton, in the skeleton and luge, and luger Simon Payne are the only other athletes to have previously represented Bermuda at a Winter Olympics.