Thursday, 23 June 2016

2015/2016 Season Reflection

So its been almost two months since the end of my skiing season and I've been extremely busy with my AS exams and revision. But now that all of my exams are over I've had a lot more time to think over and evaluate my season. So this is the long prolonged blog about my 2015-2016 season.

Competing in the Super Combine

The Winter Youth Olympics

In February I had the honor of being the only female selected to compete in the Youth Olympics for Alpine Skiing, and I simply cannot put into words how amazing and incredible this experience was.

The Winter Youth Olympics for 2016 were held in Lillehammer, Norway, where the 1994 Senior Winter Olympics had also taken place.

Everything from the Activities Center to the Ski Resort was perfect. It was very surreal to stand in the Olympic Village and realise that Senior Olympians which I look up to had also been here. But nothing compared to the night before my first race event, when I stood in the Ski Jump Arena, watching the Olympic Opening Ceremony (which you can watch here) and finally see the Olympic Torch be lit, and realising that I was officially an Olympic Athlete.
The Super G Start
However, this was only the beginning of my trip, and the following day my events began. The first race was the SG, and this was the event which I was most apprehensive of. Sadly I did not finish this race, not taking enough direction over one of the jumps, I completely over shot the landing point and did not make the next gate.

This was devastating for me as I considered it to be a silly error and one which could have been easily avoided. But I was determined that this would not defeat me, and the next day in the Super Combine, I attacked the SG with a new level of determination. As I came through the finish I was very pleased with how I had done, and I was even happier when I realised that I had positioned in 19th! My goal was to achieve a top 20 result in my best discipline, so to achieve this in my weakest discipline was amazing. To add to this, I had a great Slalom run, and my rank was boosted up to 13th position. I couldn't believe it, this was everything I had wanted and more.
Meeting Lindsey Vonn
From there on, I was only spurred on to perform better at the rest of my events, and challenge myself as much as possible. Sadly in the GS, which I had the highest hopes for, I crashed over a blind roller and did not finish. But I wouldn't let that hold me back and the next day in the slalom I finished in 19th.
I came away from the Youth Olympics with not only an incredible experience, but also with some great new friends.
I also had the pleasure to meet and interview my all-time biggest inspiration, Lindsey Vonn. When asked previously in the week who my biggest idol was I replied in an instant “Lindsey Vonn”. That was incredibly surreal and to ask her some of my biggest questions about how to aspire to be like her was really awesome. 

The British Alpine Championships

After the Youth Olympics I went back to Reiteralm to train in preparation for the British Champs. Last year I had a really successful year at the British Championships, so I was determined to uphold any titles I made last year.

Downhill in Tignes
Credits to Vanessa Fry//BSS
The British Championships was held in late March in Tignes, France, and was 10 races stretched over a period of 7 days. And this year, like every other year, was exhausting.

The week kicked off with two downhill training days and two race days, and these were the races I was most apprehensive of. Last year at this race I had crashed in the downhill and torn ligaments and tendons in my knee and hamstring and although I continued to race in the rest of the championships, it left me with a long road to recovery. To everyone’s surprise, not only did I finish all 4 downhill races, I also won the Overall U21 and U18 Championship. 

Slalom in Tignes
Credits to Vanessa Fry//BSS
The rest of the week was also nothing but positive.At the end of the week I walked away with 9 trophies, including the Overall Junior British Title, and 16 medals. 

"I am now the Overall and Junior U18 and U21 Downhill Champion, the Junior U18 Super G Champion, the Junior U18 Giant Slalom Champion and the Overall and Junior U18 Slalom Champion."

Leaving Tignes, I felt that I had achieved everything which I had wanted to achieve and so much more. I had lowered all of my FIS points throughout the season and was ready to head back home and focus on my pre season training.

The Chichester Rotary Club

Shortly after I got back from my season my Grandma asked me if I would like to do a speech at the Chichester Priory Club about my skiing. Naturally I am quite a shy person and was quite apprehensive of doing a speech to a large crowd, but with a bit of convincing I agreed to do it.

I could not have enjoyed it more. Everyone was extremely kind and welcoming and I felt like I had nothing to worry about. After my speech they gave me a huge round of applause and congratulated me on what I had achieved this season.

The Rotary Club has also been incredibly generous and have donated a bursary to me to help achieve my Olympic Dream. I feel honoured that the club believe that I can achieve my dreams, and I can't wait to do another speech there after my summer training!
My 18 Medals and 8 Trophies

The Future

First things first, I would like to give a huge thank you to everyone who supported me this season, including Salomon Racing UK, SkiBitz, SkiBartlett, Uvex and Delancey. I would also like to give a huge thank you to all of my new sponsors in preparation for the upcoming season like Panda Optics and The Chichester Rotary. Thank you for everything you have done to help support me!

This season has taught me a lot about myself and what standards I have come to expect of myself. I realised, especially with the downhill, that if I put my mind to it, and go in with a clear and unhindered view, then I will achieve what I want to achieve.

My training this summer kicks off on the 11th July with the British Ski Academy in Stelvio, Italy for 2 weeks, before travelling over to Cervinia for another week. I have never been to Stelvio, so I look forward to training there.

After this my training begins again in La Parva, Chile for five weeks. Last November was my first time out of Europe, and this will be my second! In Chile I plan to focus more on enhancing my speed events like Downhill and Super G, and will also be competing in some races there in September.

As well as this, I plan to also focus on my school work and A Levels next year. My schooling would not have been possible without the continuous support from Chichester Sixth Form and all of my teachers involved.

Fund Raising

Very shortly I will be releasing a fundraising campaign to help support my Olympic Dream. Skiing is an extremely expensive sport, and although I work a lot to pay for it, it will never be enough. Any donation would be extremely appreciated and I will be so grateful for everything!

My Winning Downhill Run in Tignes

Thank You for Reading my Blog! 


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