Sheffield’s freestyle skiing Summerhayes sisters are hitting the heights

Katie Summerhayes
Katie Summerhayes
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Freestyle skier Katie Summerhayes was one of Britain’s star performers at last year’s Winter Olympics and younger sister Molly is eager to follow in her footsteps.

Katie made a name for herself with a very respectable seventh-place finish in the Games’ first ever women’s ski slopestyle final in Sochi.

Molly Summerhayes

Molly Summerhayes

While the Sheffield teenager, now 19, was visibly upset to miss out on a medal, she consoled herself with the hope that she could potentially compete alongside her sibling at Pyeongchang in 2018.

Seventeen-year-old Molly has been making strides of her own in the last few months as she attempts to do her bit to make that wish a reality, having started training with Team GB last summer.

And she admits Katie’s achievements have opened plenty of doors for British skiers and given her plenty of reasons for optimism.

Molly said: “I would say she’s a big inspiration because with skiing in the UK, she’s one of the people that pushed it the most and progressed it for us.

“I was obviously really proud of her (in Sochi) because people from Great Britain are competing against all these people born and raised on snow.

“We’ve only been able to get on the snow when we’ve been training, and it’s not all year round.

“I think a lot of people idolise her now for it because she kind of opened the pathway for them.”

Molly herself is proving one to watch after winning slopestyle gold at the 2013 British Indoor Championships.

And while her current focus has switched from slopestyle to halfpipe, she has ambitions of competing in both disciplines as her career progresses, possibly by the time the next Winter Olympics comes around.

“I’ve got all the opportunities to do both,” she said. “I’ve got all the support behind me with my team and family, and I reckon it would be an even better achievement to be able to compete in both.”

As for her ambitions in South Korea in three years’ time, Molly is realistic, adding: “I would like to podium but I think that’s everyone’s goal when they go to the Olympics.

“But I definitely want to get in the top five and be one of the main leaders on the scoreboard.”

The Summerhayes sisters are both in Kreischberg, Austria, this week as they compete in the maiden FIS Freestyle Ski and Snowboarding World Championships.

While Katie will be among Britain’s best chances of winning a medal, having qualified for the slopestyle final, the down-to-earth Molly readily acknowledges she is on a learning curve.

The qualifiers for the ski halfpipe event are on Wednesday and Molly is phlegmatic over her chances.

“I’m not really bothered if I podium yet, I think it’s just getting myself into all these competitions and seeing what I need to do to make myself better,” she said.

“I just take it in my stride because I think being 17 on the GB team is a massive achievement and I don’t really feel the pressure yet.”