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Sochi 2014, the aftermath | an Interview with Team GB.

clock 21st March 2014 | comment0 Comments


Britain is never as proud and united than when one of our teams is competing and doing us proud. From cross country, to slopestyle, to downhill skiing, Sochi 2014 was a time that gripped the country. With over 1.1 billion social media impressions throughout the competition, and with snow domes across the country now totally packed out, we could be seeing one of the most exciting ski seasons in a long time next year with an influx of first timers getting on the mountains.

We had the privilege of catching up with some of the stars of Sochi, including bronze medal snowboarder Jenny Jones, Billy ‘triple cork’ Morgan, halfpipe hopefuls Ben Kilner and Dom Harrington, along with rising star and youngest woman to land a double flip, Katie Ormerod.

Here are some snippets from the interviews...



Jenny Jones

What has been happening for you since winning Bronze at Sochi? I’ve actually been recovering from Laryngitis. I’ve had to talk so much, so I’ve actually lost my voice. Seeing and feeling the response from everyone was just amazing. Everyone keeps telling me stories of how they were crying, or their mum was crying, or their kids were crying… just a lot of crying. I guess it was just a nail biter for everyone.

How does it make you feel being the 4th most talked about athlete? It made me giggle. I was like, 4th most talked about in Britain? But no, in the whole Olympics. It just makes you go wow. I’m glad that it actually entertained people on their Sunday mornings.

What did it feel like winning that bronze medal? My goal was to get to the finals. I knew there was a chance. The main thing I remember is the last person going down and I thought, Oh my gosh, I’m either going to come 4th or win a medal. It’s just crazy.

How do you feel it has helped young people getting into the sport? My local dry slope in Church Hill have sold out of lessons all through March. How cool is that? Knowing you have helped do that for your sport is great.

What was it like when you started? The dryslope was still there. It was hard boots back then. I went away with my school, and I think that is available now, but there is a lot more of it. It’s a great place to do your first turns – theres girls nights, junior nights, adult nights. I went straight out to work as a Chalet Maiden.

What was it like behind the scenes of Sochi? Billy (Morgan) is the joker. Katie Summerhayes is always singing and dancing. Apart from that, it’s all just a bit of banter between everyone. Going down to the canteen was cool because you got to meet everybody and try some of the Russian food, which wasn’t too bad actually. I ended up eating cottage cheese pancakes. Sounds a bit weird, but it actually turned out to be one of my favourite things. Meeting all the other nations and learning about the other sports was so interesting.

If you could do any other Olympic sport, what would it be? I’d probably do Ice Skating.



Billy morgan

How's everything been since Sochi? It’s been pretty none stop. I thought I’d be able to chill, maybe go on holiday. I got 2 days at home.

What did you think of the scoring? We didn’t really know whether they were rewarding depth or height of the jump - we had to work it out ourselves. I didn’t know whether they wanted us to go big, which I did in the second one, and they rewarded me for it.

What were your highlights behind the scenes? There were a few good nights out with some of the athletes. I played loads of ping pong as well.

What do you have coming up? 5 days training in Austria, then Spain for a competition, then straight to Finland, then back to France and Austria. In June we get some time off – I’m going to fly away to Bali where no one can find me.

You all looked very friendly with one another – did everyone get along well? Everybody is friends and has fun – that’s what makes snowboarding so good. It’s not intense. If everyone at the top was hating on each other and playing mind games it would be terrible.

What did you think about the conditions? The conditions were perfect. You can always moan about the weather. There was no wind, it was just pure sunshine. It’s gonna get a bit hot. It happens. It just made it a more spectacular event

What are your favourite resorts? Breckenridge is one. Mayrhofen or Morzine is where I have the most fun in the Spring when I’m not training.



Ben Kilner, Dom Harrington & Katie Ormerod

Katie, what have you been up to since watching the Olympics at home? I’m going over to Austria now training for the Junior World Championship in Italy. Then I’m going back to Austria for another competition, then going home to get my exams out of the way – I’m doing History, English and German A-Levels.

Ben, what kind of experience did you have at Sochi? The conditions were really difficult for me and Dom especially. We probably expected between 1 and 3 medals (for TeamGB) but just getting 1, we were over the moon with that. I think we probably expected Billy, Jamie and Katie were medal potentials.

Has it got people into snow sports? Yeah it’s even brought in sponsorship like Delancey, and with the help of UK Sport, that’s all new. (Dom) Hopefully it’s given a big push for snowboarding and skiing in the UK. It’s a wicked sport to get into. It just shows that with the facilities now, you get into it and can become really good at it. (Ben) We heard whilst riding Sochi that all the domes were getting full and the slopes were packed out, so it was really cool to hear. (Katie) After jenny won her medal, I think more people are wanting to get into snowboarding. Its such a popular sport now.

What did you think of the scoring? (Ben) With the level of riding in slopestyle, you’re quick to forget what the last guy did, so you saw a hammer of a run, but you forget what the last guy did. Sage did his first run and that continued, staying first the whole day. I had my heart in my throat when Billy and Jamie went down.

What are you favourite resorts? (Ben) I personally really like Mammoth Lakes and Breckenridge. (Katie) Breckenridge for me. (Dom) Well, Breckenridge has been our base for the last 3 or 4 years. It’s a really great place to train. There’s a few great places in Colorado. In November and December, you get so many pro’s. You go to a park and literally everyone is either sponsored or a pro.


An Interview with Katie Summerhayes, Team GB Slopestyle Skier

clock 11th February 2014 | comment0 Comments



You’ve had a pretty eventful year, what have been your highlights so far?

The highlight for me has been the X-Games, I think that’s the pinnacle that everyone wants to get to. Only eight girls in the world get invited. Just to get an invite is an achievement in itself and I was happy just to be there. I got a fourth. When I look back over my season that’s definitely the thing I was happiest with.

Congratulations

Thank you

Where is your favourite place to ski?

My favourite place to ski is Breckenridge in America, it has the best park in the world and also everyone from skiing & snowboarding is there so you can catch up with people you haven’t seen for a couple of months.

When you’re not on the slopes what can we find you doing?

I spend a lot of time in the gym and at the physiotherapist. Normally half my time when I’m not on the slope goes toward making me better on the slopes, a lot of trampolining. Apart from that I hang out with my friends a lot.

Who’s your hero?

Sarah Burke. She unfortunately passed away last year due to an injury in the half pipe but she’s the reason why girls get to compete in the X-games, and she’s one of the main reasons why we’re in the Olympics. She really pushed forward for that. When we’re all skiing at the Olympics everyone will be skiing for her.

Winter is just around the corner, what are your plans for the season?

My plans are to be back in Breckenridge at the start of the season for a couple of months and then really just follow the competition circuit where ever that takes us. Not too sure yet, it will probably be a different country every week but it’s cool.

If you could ski somewhere in the world where you haven’t been before, where would it be and why?

I think New Zealand, I haven’t managed to be there for their winter but that’s somewhere that everyone goes and I think it looks like a pretty cool place, so it sounds good.

It’s a very exciting time for British snow sports with the Olympics coming up, what are your hopes for the games?

Obviously I’d love to win a medal. I’m going to try and put the best run down that I can. I’ll try my hardest and hopefully I can. If I finish top ten or top five I’ll be happy. I just want to have fun and experience it and try and get the best result I can.

What do you think chances are for the British ski and board team to get medals?

I think we have a huge chance. There are loads of different athletes that are up with a chance of winning medals. Not just ski and snowboard but we’ve got loads of good skeleton people. I think this will be one of the best games that team GB have ever had. And that fact that slopestyle is in it for the first time and halfpipe skiing is going to be pretty cool. So I’m just looking forward to it.

Thank you very much.

Thank you.



Interview with Team GB Snowboard Star, Billy Morgan

clock 5th February 2014 | comment0 Comments


As far as the UK goes for competitive snowboarding, they don’t get much bigger than Team GB favourite Billy Morgan. He picked up his first snowboard at the age of 14 in Southampton’s Alpine centre , and shot to fame in 2011 after performing a world’s first triple rodeo flip (to you and me, a triple backflip).

It’s been 2 years, 6 world cups and some costly injuries, but the young slopestyle hopeful achieved his goal of qualifying for Sochi 2014 by being in the top 30 in the world whilst meeting the UK’s quota.

With favourites such as Shaun White (US) and Torstein Horgmo (Norway) out of the competition, it leaves Morgan tipped to bring back the gold for Great Britain, in an event filled with tricks and huge air.

Igluski caught up with him.

What kind of training is involved for freestyle snowboarding?

For most of the year it’s all about getting the hours in on your board, working on different tricks, filming and having fun etc. But when the days are good it’s time to get to work. I’ll try and treat the day like a competition day, get to big tricks as fast as possible, repeat them and then the time for progression presents itself. It's then that you can start to work on putting extra things on your big tricks.

Do you have a favourite ski resort?

I like Breckenridge to ride and Morzine or Mayrhoffen to Party.

Bucket list riding location?

Alaska, Japan, Park city and Jackson Hole.

You were recently injured in training, how has your training changed to get back on the board?

I did have a bad fall in September at a snow dome in the UK. I fully ruptured my ACL and MCL which I thought ended my route to Sochi. But I spent two months with a good team of specialists in rehab working hard every day. I got back snowboarding in December.

You recently posted back to back triples on a practice at the X-games, how did the knee feel?

Ahh that was a mental day, I didn't make finals but was training in case someone dropped out as I had the reserve spot. I got my run down and my coach urged me to try it. I knew I needed to at some point so gave it a wang. The knee was absolutely fine. It’s been pretty good since Christmas, just takes a run or two to warm it up haha.

What do you do to relax before competition?

Straight after I’m stoked to just get down the hill and jam with my friends, it all depends on where I am. I love a bit of table tennis.

What are you most looking forward to at Sochi 2014? Any other events you’re keen to watch?

I’m not sure what to make of it all, I’m stoked to watch the other guys on the team compete and really want to see the figure skating down in Sochi. Mad respect for that lot.

Any tricks up your sleeve you’re saving for Sochi?

Sadly no, I haven't saved anything crazy. Maybe I should have.

Check Out Billy Morgan's Triple Rodeo, here



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