“Oh my god, it’s like déjà vu,” said Jenny Jones, as she stood at the bottom of the Pyeongchang slopestyle course with a huge smile on her face. It had just been confirmed that Britain’s Izzy Atkin had won a bronze medal in freestyle skiing after an agonizing wait – one that echoed Jenny’s own nerve-shredding experience of winning bronze at Sochi four years ago.
A week later and the Brits in Pyeongchang were at it again, watching through their fingers as the remaining snowboarders dropped in the men’s Big Air and one-by-one fell over, leaving Billy Morgan with the bronze.
“It’s becoming a bit of a habit,” joked GB Park & Pipe snowboard coach Hamish McKnight to the BBC afterwards. But the parallels don’t stop with the colour of the medals or the manner of the wins.
“Lots of people were phoning up saying they had seen the Olympics on TV and wanted to try freestyle.”
As the dust settles post-Olympics and Izzy and Billy do the rounds of breakfast TV and radio interviews, it seems news of their achievements is having a similar impact to the “Jenny Jones effect” that saw a notable increase in the numbers of people trying out skiing and snowboarding in the UK.
Even before the medals, there were reports of increases in bookings at snow domes and dryslopes across the country, as the BBC’s blanket coverage inspired people to give snowsports a go. And with Billy in particular getting a lot of mainstream media attention as the games wrapped up, indoor snow centres say that bookings and enquiries have gone up significantly.