British champion snowboarder, Katie Ormerod is going for gold at February’s Winter Olympics.
She is arguably Britain’s best medal chance for Pyeongchang 2018, competing in the snowboard slopestyle and the new Olympic discipline of snowboard 'Big Air.'
The talented 20-year-old from Brighouse, West Yorkshire has enjoyed a flurry of success so far – including her first World Cup gold, at January’s big air event in Moscow and a bronze at the X games
She is also producing incredible performances on the snow following a silver success at the first Big Air World Cup of the season in Italy. She wants to compete in all four Big Air competitions and three World Cup slopestyle events before February’s Winter Olympics in South Korea.
“I am super excited about the next few months. The Olympics is coming up really fast so I'm going to spend the next couple of months training and learning new tricks in Italy,” she says.
Katie hasn’t forgotten her roots either and took time out to visit her old school and present accolades at Hipperholme Grammar School’s annual sports awards earlier this year.
“It was awesome to be invited back to be a guest speaker at my former school for the sports awards,” says Katie, who has been skiing since the age of three.
“The school’s staff were so supportive when I was there. I can’t thank them enough for how much they’ve helped my snowboarding career. To be asked to return to the school where I had so many good memories was an absolute privilege.”
Jackie Griffiths, headteacher admits: “It was an absolute delight to welcome Katie back. We have followed her snowboarding progress avidly. Her skill, determination and enthusiasm is inspirational and she is an amazing role model for all of our pupils.”
It’s certainly been an unforgettable season for Katie – from the highs of five podium finishes to the devastating low of breaking her back in March following a heavy crash during training.
A gruelling rehabilitation regime followed allowing Katie back on the snow just six weeks later.
“Having doctors telling me I’d broken my back was really scary. I didn’t quite know what to expect,” says Katie.
“But with a great team around me, my recovery went really well and I was able to return to the snow without surgery, so I was quite lucky. I was back in Switzerland, fully recovered and able to complete my end of season training with no worries so I feel a lot stronger now.
“I’m just going to keep training really hard and hopefully I can land the best run when I’m there and get a medal,” she says, adding: “The dream is to get a Winter Olympics medal, preferably gold.”
Coming from a keen-snowboarding family, Katie spent hours perfecting her athletic talent at Halifax Dry Slope after getting her first snowboard as a Christmas present at the age of five.
“I love being on the snow. I remember going on a family holiday in Austria and I just absolutely loved being in the mountains. I completely fell in love with snowboarding,” she admits.
Katie finished second overall in this season’s standings following three World Cup podiums in Big Air, a silver medal at the Innsbruck Air and Style and her X Games bronze success.
“I’ve nearly completed my competition bucket list. I’ve got medals from the X Games and World Cup, now I just need that Olympics medal,” says Katie, speaking from Halifax Dry Slope.
“I’m going to make sure I’m in the best possible shape to achieve that. I’m completely focused on bringing a medal back to Great Britain.”