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Murphy set for Sochi Olympics

Reaping rewards: Murphy, above carrying Bermuda’s flag during the opening ceremony of the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, has qualified for next month’s Winter Games in Sochi

Tucker Murphy will represent Bermuda in Sochi next month after qualifying for his second successive Winter Olympics.

The cross-country skier reached the B standard in the 15-kilometre freestyle in Chamonix, France, this week, comfortably accumulating an average of less than 300 points from five races.

Having spent the last few months living in hostels and shared accommodation while competing across Europe, his father Michael Murphy said Tucker had reaped the rewards of his hard work.

“He’s worked at it a fair bit. He’s been in the Alps for the most part, the Swiss Alps the Italian Alps, while competing in these European events, so he’s been moving around quite a bit” he said.

“He isn’t really based anywhere at the moment, he’s living in youth hostels, small hotels or with members of the other teams. I think he was a bit tired when I spoke to him after [he qualified]. He’s been travelling a lot and I think he will settle down now and hopefully stay in the same location.”

Murphy said his son would remain in high altitude training and had two more races in Switzerland before heading to Russia, where the Games will be held from February 7 to 23.

“Tucker seems fairly fit and he’s in training at high altitude right now, which is helpful,” he said. “He’s had good luck, starting out in mid-November in the United States when there was snow and then going to Europe to get his points — it’s worked out pretty well.”

Murphy, who will be the only athlete representing Bermuda in Sochi, competed in several triathlons last year as part of his conditioning training. The 32-year-old finished 76th at the ITU World Triathlon Grand Final in London in a time of two hours, one minute and 57 seconds.

Murphy became only the third Bermudian to appear at a Winter Olympics when he represented the Island at the Vancouver Games in 2010.

He finished in 88th place in the 15km freestyle, beating skiers from Portugal, Peru, Ethiopia, Nepal, Ireland, Brazil and Iran. In the past Patrick Singleton (skeleton and luge) and Simon Payne (luge) have competed at the Winter Games.

A former Saltus Grammar School pupil, Murphy has a strong background in his sport, having been a member of his Dartmouth team at the US and Argentina National Championships.

Cross-country skiing was part of the inaugural Winter Olympics at Chamonix in 1924, although women did not have the opportunity to participate until Oslo in 1952.

It is a discipline that has been traditionally dominated by Scandinavians, especially the Norwegians, who won three gold medals and nine overall medals four years ago in Vancouver.

The cross-country skiing events in Sochi will be held at the Laura Biathlon and Ski Complex.