The Lure of Sochi
Lure of Sochi
Many freeskiing and snowboarding athletes who might have considered retiring from their sports are staying in the game longer for a chance to compete in the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia, where ski and snowboard slopestyle and ski halfpipe will make their Olympic debuts. "I feel as if the Olympics has extended my competition career," says halfpipe skier Simon Dumont, who has competed at the X Games for the past 12 years. "My plan is to do the Olympics, hopefully medal and move on to other aspects of freeskiing."
Hana Beaman, a three-time X Games silver medalist in snowboard slopestyle, hopes to qualify for the 2014 Olympics. She will be 31 then. "I feel like it is an opportunity that's there, and if I didn't at least try, I might be kicking myself down the road," Beaman says. "I've done the competition scene before, and I did really well at it, so that's not very foreign to me."
"When I heard the Olympics were about to happen, I was thinking about more filming or maybe going back to school," Canadian freeskier Charles Gagnier said. "I'm 27 now and I never thought I would be competing over 25. But I'm still pretty good at it, and I want to give it a shot."
Justin Lamoureux is a two-time Olympian. He will be 37 years old during the Sochi Olympics. "I've toned it down [in competition] the last two years," Lamoureux says. "I've just kept my foot in the door, I guess. I've only done four events a year or so. But the Olympic opening ceremonies alone are pretty much worth going for."
Grete Eliassen has been competing in the X Games since 2005, when female freeskiers were first invited. "If slopestyle was not in the Olympics, I would most likely be on my snowmobile a lot more in the backcountry and working on a video part instead of competitions," she says.
Marko Grilc of Slovenia hopes to compete at the 2014 Olympics, where he'll be 30 years old. "It's just cool that the IOC recognizes that's where snowboarding has been headed lately and they're giving it a chance," he says. "For me, I've had such a long career that it's a bummer slopestyle wasn't in before, but I'm hyped it got that chance."
Sammy Carlson first competed in the X Games when he was 15. Now 24, he says, "I was definitely looking forward to doing some other things, and then when you hear about the Olympics, it's such an opportunity that you have to try and make a push for it. It's like a little carrot that comes into the picture and a whole other opportunity for people to take advantage of."
After freeskier Tanner Hall severely injured both his knees, doctors told him he might never compete again. Hall set out to prove them wrong: In January, he returned to his first X Games in three years. The Olympics, he says, are a goal of his. "I'm not saying I'm going to the Olympics and I'm going to win everything," Hall says. "It's a goal of mine to get there and have as much fun as possible, but if I don't get there, I don't care."