With the 22nd Winter Olympics well under way in Sochi, Russia, I thought you might be interested in learning a little bit more about some of the athletes competing, specifically B.C.-raised Olympians.
B.C. has a rich history in athletes who have competed in both the Summer and Winter Olympics. This year there are a total of 30 B.C. born athletes out of the 217 Canadian athletes participating.
My first post will focus on two new events in the Winter Olympics: Ski Slopestyle and Snowboard Slopestyle.
Ski Slopestyle – Yuki Tsubota
Ski Slopestyle debuted at the Sochi Olympics on February 11, 2014 with ladies’ qualifications. Ski Slopestyle is a technical sport focusing on three rail sections and three aerial jumps. It is a judged sport, focusing on style, skill, and pushing boundaries. Time is not a factor. The definition comes from my observation of the competition, as well as through the CBC commentary.
Yuki Tsubota, Vancouver-born and Whistler-raised, was a part of the team of four Canadian women competing. She is a fantastic young (19 years old) and dedicated athlete. In fact, she toured across North America through the power of her family mini van competing to qualify for the Canadian National Team. What an amazing feat. This is particularly true as the repetitive Canadian Tire commercial articulates “sports is expensive”, illustrating the importance of sponsorship to help elite athletes train.
She came in 6th in the final run of the Ski Slopestyle competition, despite a terrifying fall where she received a concussion and a fractured cheek bone.
Snowboard Slopestyle – Spencer O’Brien
The second athlete I will highlight is Spencer O’Brien from Alert Bay who grew up in Courtenay. She was a strong contender in the Snowboard Slopestyle event. Same description for this event as Ski Slopestyle, but on a snowboard. It initially debuted in the Olympics on the men’s side with a Bronze Medal win by Regina’s Mark McMorris on February 6, 2014 (the final run for the medals took place on February 8, 2014). O’Brien was a strong contender going into the competition having been active on the world cup circuit since 2008. She is a powerful and committed competitor, having moved to Whistler to hone her craft at the tender age of 17. She began her career training on the half-pipe side of snowboard, but switched to slopestyle when her mountain no longer maintained a half-pipe for her to practice.
Canada was glad she did. She made it to the final run in the competition but unfortunately fell in both her runs resulting in a 12th place finish.
The 22nd Winter Olympics began it’s second week this past Saturday (Sunday in Sochi). Canada is well on it’s way to “Owning the Podium” with 14 medals (4 gold, 6 silver, and 4 bronze). My next article will feature North Vancouver‘s Maelle Ricker (Snowboard Cross) who looked to defend her Vancouver 2010 Olympic gold medal and Summerland’s Justin Kripps (Bobsleigh) who will be competing in his second Olympics. Be sure to tune in later this week for a feature on these two inspiring BC athletes!
Featured Image by http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freestyleski%C3%ABn