Tucker Murphy. * File photo
Tucker Murphy. * File photo
Tucker Murphy did not win an Olympic medal.

But one could easily have been lured into thinking so, such was the "upbeat" mood in the Bermudian cross country skier's camp following his Winter Games debut in Vancouver on Monday.

The 28-year-old, who is currently studying zoology at Oxford University, completed the men's 15 kilometre free-style cross country race held at Whistler Olympic Park 88th overall in a time of 42 minutes and 39.1 seconds.

He said: "I was pretty happy because going into the race I was ranked 88th and so I basically held my ranking.

"I ran as hard as I could on the day and for such a big race I was happy with my performance. It was a good day - but a long one!"

On the eve of the race Murphy endured more than his share of stress.

He said: "The lead up to the race was a bit stressful because I have never been in such a big race before. But it was fantastic to have so much support from Bermudians and old friends."

He also had to overcome a bout of butterflies in the stomach at the starting line.

"I was shaking at the start and my face was probably white. I was extremely nervous at the start," Murphy added.

The Rhodes Scholar is the first Bermudian to represent the island in cross country skiing at a Winter Games, having qualified for a maiden Olympics competing on the European circuit last March.

In Vancouver Murphy rubbed shoulders with the world's elite on a race course at Callaghan Valley he described as being "challenging".

He said: "It was definitely worthy of the Olympics. There were some hard climbs, especially leaving the stadium. The hills had a lot of soft snow on them and so it was pretty tough trying not to get bogged down in soft snow."

The former rower has become an overnight celebrity since appearing at last week's opening ceremony at BC Place Stadium wearing red traditional Bermuda shorts - which did not go unnoticed by TV show Access Hollywood.

Taking his newly-found fame in stride, Murphy smiled: "I had to convince my coach (Martin Bianchi) to wear them - I think he was a little bit embarrassed."

Enjoy

With his Olympic debut now behind him, the former Saltus Grammar School student plans to attend other events and continue training at the Olympic Village.

He added: "I am looking forward to enjoying a little more time here. I'm going to enjoy some of the other events and also going to keep training because this is such an ideal place to train."

Among those accompanying Murphy in Vancouver is Bermuda Olympic Association president Judy Simons who heaped praise on the island's sole representative at the Winter Games.

She said: "I think he did Bermuda extremely proud. He stayed the course and both he and his coach are very proud of his performance on a challenging course.

"He went in at 88 and that's where he stayed and I am absolutely proud of Tucker's performance.

"He has nothing to be ashamed of and I am very happy with his character on the race course.

"He was upbeat and confident going in that he would do as well as we expected him to do. I'm very happy."

He is the third person to represent Bermuda at a Winter Olympics behind Simon Payne and Patrick Singleton.