With less than three months to go until the XXII Olympic Winter Games, New Zealand’s top freeski and snowboard athletes are once again preparing for winter. While some members of the team have already travelled to the northern hemisphere to begin training, the remaining few, including brothers Jossi, Byron and Beau-James Wells will leave New Zealand this Monday, 25th November.
Heading for Colorado, USA the freeski and snowboard athletes will make the most of the last remaining qualifying events to improve individual rankings and guarantee their place on the New Zealand Olympic Team.
The first qualifying event of the 2013 – 2014 northern hemisphere season will be the International Ski Federation (FIS) World Cup at Copper Mountain Resort in Colorado, USA between 18 – 21 December. New Zealand athletes will compete in snowboard halfpipe along with the new Olympic disciplines of snowboard slopestyle, freeski halfpipe and freeski slopestyle.
The New Zealand Olympic Team is expected to be made up of 14 – 20 athletes across both ice and snow sports with the majority of athletes competing in the freeski and snowboard events.
New Zealand Olympic Team Selection will be complete by 17 January 2014.
The Sochi Olympic Games take place 7 – 23 February 2014.
New Zealand Olympic Team Selection Dates
Please note the following dates may be subject to change:
December 23 2013 - Short Track Speed Skating, Skeleton,
December 29 2013 – Long Track Speed Skating, Biathlon, Curling, Initial Snowboard and Freeski
January 17 2014 – Final Snowboard and Freeski
January 17 2014 – Team complete
About the New Zealand Olympic Team to Sochi 2014
- Estimated 14 – 20 athletes (Vancouver 2010 -16, Torino 2016 - 18)
- Majority expected to be in new Olympic freeski and slopestyle events
- Snow and ice sports that may contested at Sochi by New Zealand athletes
o Alpine Skiing
o Freeski slopestyle (new)
o Freeski halfpipe (new)
o Snowboard slopestyle (new)
o Snowboard halfpipe
o Speed skating – long track
o Speed skating – short track
- Athletes aiming for a second Olympic Games Shane Dobbin (long track speed skating Vancouver 2010), Blake Skjellerup (short track speed skating, Vancouver 2010), Rebecca Sinclair (snowboard halfpipe Vancouver 2010), Ben Griffin (alpine, Vancouver 2010), Sarah Murphy (biathlon, Vancouver 2010) and Warren Dobson (curling, Torino 2006).
- Skeleton athlete Ben Sandford is aiming for his third Olympic Games (Vancouver 2010 and Torino 2006).
- In general terms, New Zealand Olympic Committee selection states that athletes must compete in 50% of available World Cup qualifying events and finish in the top half of the field at 50% of these events.
- Chef de Mission is Peter Wardell (Vancouver 2010)
- Around 20 support staff including coaches, physios, wax techs and operations staff will join the athletes in Sochi.
- New Zealand has won just one Olympic medal – Annelise Coberger, silver, Albertville 1992, slalom, alpine skiing.
About Sochi 2014
- Two distinct clusters, each with its own venues and Olympic village.
- 30 mins apart via high speed train.
- Mountain Cluster includes freeski, snowboard, sliding and alpine sports.
- Coastal Cluster features ice sports including curling, long track and short track speed skating, all taking place in stunning, purpose-built venues.
- Sochi is located in the Krasnodar region of Russia and has a population of 400,000.
Sochi by Numbers
- 7 sports, 15 disciplines
- 98 medal events (49 men, 43 women, 6 mixed up from 86 at Vancouver)
- 5,500 athletes
- 25,000 volunteers
- 13,000 media
- 11 competition venues
- 17 days of competition
- 3 billion television viewers
Sports at Sochi 2014
- Bobsleigh: Bobsleigh and Skeleton
- Ice Hockey
- Skating: Figure Skating, Short Track Speed Skating and Speed Skating
- Skiing: Alpine, Cross Country, Nordic Combined, Ski Jumping, Freestyle and Snowboard