For the last four years Wānaka freeski slopestyle and big air athlete Finn Bilous has been looking forward to his shot at Olympic redemption.
Competing at PyeongChang 2018, Bilous narrowly missed out on qualifying for the final. Four years later and just weeks away from his second Winter Olympic Games, he’s determined to prove he has what it takes at the top level.
“I had a great experience at the last Olympics but the contest was a little frustrating for me,” says Bilous.
“I was 0.6 points off getting into the final, so going into these Games I really want to crack that final and then put down the run that I've been training for. It’s an amazing opportunity and I’m really excited.”
The 22-year-old will compete in both freeski slopestyle and big air in Beijing, with the latter discipline making its Winter Olympic debut.
Bilous says he doesn’t have a preference between the two and will be going “all out” after a great winter spent training at home and perfecting his routines.
“I enjoy all different types of skiing. I'm just a product of my environment around Wānaka, and we're pretty lucky to have freeride skiing, slopestyle skiing and half pipe skiing all in the same place. It's quite rare to have that. I've grown-up skiing here, I enjoy it all and it’s fun trying to keep progressing my riding in all aspects.”
Bilous was destined to be a high-performance skier. Growing up in Wānaka with the Southern Alps as his backyard, he began skiing soon after he could walk. With both parents keen skiers, and his father a heli-ski guide and avalanche safety instructor, he was encouraged to spend plenty of time in the mountains.
“I come from a skiing family so I was put on skis when I was two years old and pretty much just chased my older brother around up at Treble Cone, Cardrona and Snow Park.
“I wasn’t really thinking about getting into the professional side of things until I started doing more contests, that’s what's led me to where I am today and I'm very thankful.”
While performance will be the main focus for Bilous in Beijing, he’s also looking forward to the Olympic experience and making his supporters proud.
“It means so much to me to be representing my favourite country in the world, doing what I love at the Olympics on the world stage.
“It's hard to put into words but I think for me, wearing the fern just means representing something that's bigger than yourself. And to be doing that through the sport that I love the most is a real honour.”
Bilous will be in action in Beijing from February 7th. He is coached by Hamish McDougall.Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games