Words by James Renhard | Main image by Christian Pondella/Red Bull Content Pool
“The 2018 Olympic Games have always been a target, so I’m not really feeling too much pressure. I’m just eager to get there.” Snowboarder Katie Ormerod repeats the mantra of many-a British sports person ahead of a the biggest event of their respective career. The difference between them and Katie is, I believe her.
On the 11th February, the eyes of the world will be watching Bokwang Snowpark in Pyeonchang as the Snowboard Slopestyle event at the 2018 Olympic Games gets under way. A slightly sleep deprived Great Britain will be looking on, their hopes resting firmly on the shoulders of 19 year old Katie Ormerod.
When Katie spoke to us down a crackly phone line a few months before the Olympics, she sounded focused, she sounded confident but, above all else, she sounded knackered.
“I’m definitely one of the contenders for a medal”
A combination of jet-lag and an intense Olympic qualifying circuit left the already normally reserved Ormerod sounding like she needed to sleep. Unfortunately for her, when you’re not only the best in the country, but among the very best in the world (plus the fact your new energy drink sponsor wants to show you off), the working day lasts a little longer.
“Yeah” confirms Ormerod with a just a hint of nerves hidden in a laugh, “ I’m tired, but it’s alright,” when I suggest that the jet lag is audible down the phone line.
When Ormerod says the 2018 Olympics have always been a target, she really does mean always. While some athletes at the games will have found their way into their sport via the back door – former sprinters becoming bobsleigh racers, heptathletes who now compete in the skeleton bob – Katie Ormerod has been snowboarding virtually all of her life.
“I started snowboarding when I was five-years-old. My whole family were keen snowboarders, riding on the dry slope up at Halifax. I kept snowboarding there every week, and then started going to the local snowdome. The whole time, I was balancing snowboarding with gymnastics as well, which really helped.”