ON THE JOURNEY TO THE OLYMPICS

STORY BY Emmanuelle Châtel 4th August 2017

It’s now 200 days to the start of the Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea, from 9-25 February 2018. Britain is setting goals and strong ambitions, bringing to Korea the biggest team the UK ever had.

At a media event to celebrate this latest milestone in the countdown, British Ski and Snowboard performance director Dan Hunt, revealed that he believes the 2018 Olympics will be both a massive challenge and an immense opportunity for the British Ski & Snowboard team to be the most successful the UK has ever had.

At the last Olympics only one medal was brought home, by Jenny Jones in the women’s slopestyle, only the second snowsports medal ever won by Team GB. Since then several training programs have been set up to provide the best training for athletes, allowing the team to move quickly towards their goals of higher achievement still. This has meant performance oriented training as British Ski and Snowboard targets becoming a top-five snowsports nation by 2030.

“We are in a completely different space compared to where we were four years ago at Sochi.”

Becoming a Top 5 nation can’t happen by focusing on one discipline only. UK Sport provided extra funding to go across 3 disciplines: Alpine, Cross Country and Park & Pipe, with the latter most likely to be a top discipline for the UK.

That means the likes of Dave Ryding (alpine) and Andrew Musgrave (Cross Country) will receive financial grants. Going toward equipment, physio, training camps, better equipment, maintenance of athletes’ health and to attract world class coaches. A significant move and change for athletes.

“We’re doing everything we can at the moment to give our athletes the best training.” Said Dan Hunt.

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But they can’t rely on UK Sport’s investment only, so last winter have The British Snowsports Fund was established, a fundraising initiative which supports young athletes and bring in more money to competitive British snowsports at the elite level. The UK benefiting from a good pool of young athletes.

“We can do this” confirms the British Ski and Snowboard performance director. “There is a lot of positivity and a real buzz around what we are doing. The performance target we have is very achievable.”

The final Olympic team will be announced on the 24th January.

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