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22 January 2014

Record number of Skiers and Snowboarders selected for Team GB for Sochi 2014

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The British Olympic Association (BOA) today announced that 19 skiers and snowboarders have been officially selected for Team GB for the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games.

The selected athletes are (full athlete profiles can be found on www.teamgb.com):

DAVE RYDING (born: Bretherton, lives: Bretherton) (Alpine Skiing)

CHEMMY ALCOTT (born: Twickenham, lives: Surrey) (Alpine Skiing)

ANDREW MUSGRAVE (born: Poole, lives: Trondheim, Norway) (Cross Country)

ANDREW YOUNG (born: Huntly, lives: Lillehammer, Norway) (Cross Country)

CALLUM SMITH (born: Bristol, lives: Inverurie) (Cross Country)

ROSAMUND (POSY) MUSGRAVE (born: Cairo, Egypt, lives: Oyne) (Cross Country)

JAMES WOODS (born: Sheffield, lives: Sheffield) (Ski Slopestyle)

KATIE SUMMERHAYES (born: Sheffield, lives: Sheffield) (Ski Slopestyle)

MURRAY BUCHAN (born: Edinburgh, lives: Edinburgh) (Ski Halfpipe)

JAMES MACHON (born: Sheffield, lives: Sheffield) (Ski Halfpipe)

ROWAN CHESHIRE (born: Stoke on Trent, lives: Stoke on Trent) (Ski Halfpipe)

EMMA LONSDALE (born: Settle, Yorkshire, lives: Settle, Yorkshire) (Ski Halfpipe)

ZOE GILLINGS (born: Isle of Man, lives: Leeds) (Snowboard Cross)

BILLY MORGAN (born: Southampton, lives: Southampton) (Snowboard Slopestyle)

JAMIE NICHOLLS (born: Bradford, lives: Bradford) (Snowboard Slopestyle)

JENNY JONES (born: Bristol, lives: Bristol) (Snowboard Slopestyle)

AIMEE FULLER (born: Bromley, lives: Belfast) (Snowboard Slopestyle)

BEN KILNER (born: Banchory, lives: Banchory) (Snowboard Halfpipe)

DOM HARINGTON (born: Leeds, lives: London) (Snowboard Halfpipe)

The race to make the standard for Team GB nomination and subsequent selection went down to the wire for the British skiers and snowboarders, with Aimee Fuller securing her place on the team with a 5th place at the Snowboard Slopestyle World Cup in Stoneham last weekend, and Chemmy Alcott proving to selectors she was fit, despite her final race before selection being cancelled due to heavy snow. The 19 skiers and snowboarders will be one of the biggest numbers ever selected for Team GB for an Olympic Winter Games across the skiing and snowboarding disciplines.

Sochi 2014 sees the introduction of Ski and Snowboard Slopestyle and Ski Halfpipe into the Winter Olympics, three disciplines where the United Kingdom hope to make an impact. Snowboard Parallel Slalom will also make its debut on the Olympic Programme, but will not feature any Team GB athletes.

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. Woodsy also 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.

Woodsy will 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. 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.

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 18th February. The women’s competition takes place two days later on 20th February with World Cup gold medallist Rowan Cheshire and Yorkshire skier Emma Lonsdale the selected Team GB athletes.

Alpine skier Chemmy Alcott has defied the odds and come back to world class racing after breaking her leg back in 2010. This return to fitness sees her selected for Team GB as she tries to make a mark in her fourth Olympic Winter Games. Alongside Alcott is Alpine skier Dave Ryding who is a Europa Cup Slalom Winner and from Lancashire. Ryding will race on 22nd January in the Slalom at the Rosa Khutor Alpine Centre.

Team GB is well represented in Cross Country skiing with four athletes competing at the Laura Cross Country Ski and Biathlon Centre. Leading the way is Scottish athlete Andrew Musgrave who last weekend won the Sprint title at the Norwegian Championships and recently finished 9th in a World Cup race which made up the Tour de Ski, in which he finished 27th overall. Andrew Musgrave will be joined on the team by fellow countrymen Andrew Young and Callum Smith. For the women, Rosamund Musgrave, better known as Posy, will compete in the sprint events. After an outstanding season Posy, sister of Andrew, looks to make an impact at her first ever Games.

Seven snowboarders will take to the slopes for Team GB during Sochi 2014. In the new discipline of Snowboard Slopestyle, Billy Morgan, who came third in the 2013 World Cup finals and second in a 4* World Snowboard Tour event last year will lead the charge. He will be joined by team mate Jamie Nicholls, who has qualified for his first Winter Olympics. For the women, triple X Games winner Jenny Jones will compete in the Snowboard Slopestyle event on 9thFebruary. She is joined by Kent born Aimee Fuller who secured her place on the team after coming 5th in last weekend’s Snowboard Slopestyle World Cup in Stoneham, Canada.

In Snowboard Halfpipe, Ben Kilner will go into his second Olympic Winter Games accompanied by team mate Dom Harington. Scottish athlete Kilner placed 18th in the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics and hopes to better that performance in Sochi. For London based Harington, this will be his first Winter Olympics after being a dominating force alongside Kilner on the British snowboard halfpipe scene for some time.

In Snowboard Cross, Zoe Gillings comes into her third Olympic Winter Games for Team GB. In Turin 2006 she finished 15th and in Vancouver 2010 8th in the Ladies Snowboard Cross event. Gillings will take to the course in Rosa Khutor on Sunday 16th February.

Commented Sochi 2014 Team GB Chef de Mission Mike Hay:

"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."

Said Paddy Mortimer, Team GB Ski and Snowboard Team Leader:

"We are proud of all our coaches, support staff and athletes who have done so well to get to this point.

“We send out a big thank you to our commercial partners, UK Sport and the public for their continued support through the National Lottery. This support has greatly assisted in continuing the fantastic work of our athletes and coaches.

“The athletes that have been selected to Team GB and those that were close, all are a great testament to how skiing and snowboarding is developing at an elite level in this country. We must all now continue our hard work and professionalism and we will see it rewarded.”

James 'Woodsy' 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!"

Andrew Musgrave said: “Being selected to be part of Team GB in Sochi is a huge honour. This will be my second Olympics, having also raced at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics, but four years ago I was still very young. Going into Sochi I feel like a much more mature and experienced athlete and I believe what I have learnt over the course of the last four years will help me perform to a much higher level and I cannot wait to get started.”

Katie 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.”

Rowan Cheshire said: "I am over the moon about being selected for Team GB and even happier to be picked because it’s the first time my sport has been included in the Olympic Winter Games. When I think about competing in Sochi I feel a little nervous, but at the moment I am just overcome with excitement!

“To have made it to Sochi means the world to me as I have grown up watching the Olympics and dreaming of going, and this has now become a reality. I would like to thank my family especially my dad for supporting me through the years, and also my coaches Pat Sharples and Jamie Matthews for the being the best coaches ever!”

Ben Kilner said: “I’m absolutely thrilled with the way things have gone this season. After what seems to have been a very quick four years since Vancouver 2010 here I am again. I am absolutely delighted to have made the team again and look forward to putting on a good show for our nation.

“Team GB are sending what I think will be their best and most successful Winter Olympics squad. I am really proud to be a part of it and I will do everything my body is capable of doing to make my country proud.”

Zoe Gillings said: "I am delighted to have been selected to compete for my third Olympic Winter Games. I don't think I would have got the results needed in the past two seasons if it wasn't for the British Ski and Snowboard performance director Paddy Mortimer who does everything he can to help the athletes. Now is the time for me to go to Sochi, use the experience I've gained at my two previous Winter Olympics, ride as fast as I can and try to get onto that podium!'”

Dave Ryding said: “It’s a great feeling to be selected to represent Team GB in Sochi, after four years of hard work since the last Olympics I look forward to putting my best skiing out there on the day of the race. A massive thanks to everyone who has supported me along the way, I'm sure it will be a highly successful Olympic Winter Games for Team GB.”