Sheffield freestyle skiers James Woods, James Machon and Katie Summerhayes have been selected by Team GB for the Sochi Olympic Winter Games next month.
Sochi 2014 sees the introduction of Ski and Snowboard Slopestyle and Ski Halfpipe into the Winter Olympics, three disciplines where the United Kingdom team hope to make an impact.
In Ski Slopestyle, James ‘Woodsy’ Woods hopes to be challenging for Olympic honours after last year being awarded the FIS Crystal Globe which is given to the best athlete in each discipline competing at World Cup level.
Woods, who is taking part in the prestigious X Games in America later this week, and took up skiing at the Ski Village after seeing an advert in The Star, won a silver medal at the Freestyle World Championships, becoming only the second ever British medallist at World Championship level.
This season has seen some good performances for the Sheffield born athlete, who will be looking to match his performances from last season in Sochi.
Woods said: “I am always incredibly proud to represent the United Kingdom in everything I do. To be given the opportunity to go to the Winter Olympics to do just that is amazing. I will certainly put all my efforts into my performance, representing my country and representing the freeskiing culture.
“The UK has a brilliant team going to Sochi along with an incredible field of people to follow, I truly hope everyone reaches their huge potential - enjoy the show!”
He is be joined by fellow Sheffield skier Katie Summerhayes on the Ski Slopestyle course in Rosa Khutor Extreme Park.
Summerhayes, who is just 18, carried the flag in the 2012 Youth Olympic Games in Innsbruck, representing Team GB for the first time and was also a torchbearer during the 2012 torch relay through Sheffield.
She is back competing again following a knee injury which meant she was out of action all summer and missed the start of this winter’s competition season. Last weekend saw Summerhayes take second place at the World Cup Ski Slopestyle in Gstaad.
Summerhayes said: “I am so thrilled to have been selected to compete for Team GB at the Winter Olympics. This is a dream come true and I can’t believe it’s happening. The last two years have been hard for me, so I just want to thank everyone who has supported me and helped me to get here. I can’t wait to get to Sochi both to compete and support the rest of the team.”
Also just back from a knee injury is Sheffield Halfpipe skier James Machon who has shown his form in recent World Cups. He will be joined by Edinburgh athlete Murray Buchan for the Ski Halfpipe which takes place on February 18.
Sochi 2014 Team GB Chef de Mission Mike Hay said: “Team GB hasn’t taken a bigger contingent of skiers and snowboarders to an Olympic Winter Games for over two decades – since 1992 – so it is great to now have 19 of them heading out to Sochi with us shortly.
“What makes it even more exciting is the fact that we are going into Sochi with a number of athletes with medal potential in events new to the Olympic Programme. These new events should attract a varied audience and hopeful inspire many more young British people to take to up winter sport.”