This is amazing news for any British fan of skiing and snowboarding. And in fact for anyone who enjoyed watching the incredible spectacle that was the halfpipe, slopestyle and boardercross events at the Sochi Olympics in February.
UK Sport, the body in charge of allocating government funds to different sports, announced today that they’re more than doubling the amount they give to the country’s freestyle skiers and snowboarders.
The increase is a whopping £3.3 million pounds, which takes the total funding to £4.89 million!
The increase – a whopping £3.3 million pounds, which takes the total funding to £4.89 million – means that riders like Jamie Nicholls, Billy Morgan, James Woods and Katie Ormerod who are part of the elite Park & Pipe program will now benefit from massively increased support.Freestyle skiers Katie Summerhayes (L) and Rowan Cheshire (R) pose with Skeleton Bob gold medallist Lizzy Yarnolds. Both will most likely be competing in Pyeongchang in four years time. Photo: Tristan
Paddy Mortimer, the Performance Director of British Ski & Snowboard, who’s worked tirelessly behind the scenes to help secure the increase, told Mpora he was “very happy”.
“Everyone worked really hard, from the people putting the funding proposals together to the coaches and back room staff. Everyone played their part and of course the riders themselves did amazingly well.”
“They earned this, they deserve it.”
The Jenny Jones Effect
Jenny Jones’ incredible medal-winning run in Sochi obviously had a huge part to play in convincing the authorities that snowboarding and freestyle skiing were worth investing in.Jenny Jones faces the press after winning her bronze medal. Her result was instrumental in securing more funding for the future. Photo: Tristan
But given that Jenny will most likely have retired by the time the next Olympics rolls around, it’s also testament to how much they believe in the potential of the younger generation.
Not just Jamie Nicholls, Billy Morgan, Aimee Fuller, Katie Summerhayes, Rowan Cheshire and James Woods (all of whom rode really well in Sochi) but also riders like Katie Ormerod who narrowly missed out on qualifying for the last Games but will be in her prime come Pyeongchang in 2018.
Looking to the future.
As Liz Nicholl, the head of UK Sport, said: “The record investment announced today reflects the belief we have in the potential of our winter sports and athletes to make us proud again in four years’ time with yet more medal success.”
When you combine this investment with the fact that young Katie just became the first woman ever to stomp a backside double cork 1080, we’d say there’s a fair chance more “medal success” could well be on the cards for the UK’s freestyle skiers and snowboarders.
As Paddy Mortimer explained: “It secures the future,” he said. “It means we can bump up the funding for some of the athletes on the program and plug the holes we had before.”
“It feels like the Olympics, that proposal and this announcement are one chapter. Now we can look forward to the next chapter, which is Peyongchang.”
Bring it on!