News | February 10th, 2022
With the Winter Olympics in full swing, I cannot help but think the hype, excitement and anticipation fails to match, let alone exceed that of the summer games. Perhaps the dismal 32 medals from 23 Winter games highlights Team GB’s lack of success, alas discouraging potential fans.
Now of course, we must remember that the UK isn’t exactly blessed with rolling mountainous regions draped in waist deep snow, or indoor curling facilities, big air freestyle slopes or bobsleigh tracks. Unlike the Summer games, the Winter edition relies heavily upon the resources, facilities and environment that is accessible for training and climatising purposes. So much so, our athletes tend to live out in competitors’ countries for 6 months at a time chasing the winter conditions and facilities where they can.
A cool £28 million has been invested into Team GB and their Beijing Winter Olympics endeavours. Norway, Switzerland, Sweden and France, to name a few, can enjoy their facilities from their back yards subsequently saving them millions in finance to utilise on other training and strategy purposes.
However, in true British spirit we appear to take on the challenges thrown our way. With dry slopes dotted around the country, slowly but surely, we are comprising a team of promising athletes that have the potential to compete and be successful. One Team GB athlete who is a key part of this is Kirsty Muir. Originating from the slopes of Aberdeen, the 17-year-old is the youngest British athlete at the games.
Taking part in the Ski Big Air classification, Muir finished in a brilliant 5th place. Competing against the best competitors in the world, the Scot certainly made an impression. Although she is not done yet, as she prepares for the Slopestyle competition on Sunday. If we thought competing in an Olympic Games at 17 wasn’t stressful enough, Kirsty is juggling school exams too, as she mentions “I’ve got a bit of studying to catch up for sure, I’m focused on my next event and then it’s back to school.” Not only this but Muir boasts an impressive record as a straight A student, ensuring her studies are a key priority of her schedule.
It is incredibly rare to find such a talented athlete in a sport that has such poor investment, facilities and the appropriate environment to train and develop in. Ultimately, Team GB can be hopeful for their future in the winter games, and I believe this case study should be utilised as an example for future investment into our winter programme. Muir, and her teammates alike, have proven that it is possible to be competitive despite the great disadvantage Team GB are at compared to others. Future generations should not be discouraged by the lack of opportunity, and so supporting investment into the winter sports would not only boost our current athletes and their potential, but also benefit successive hopefuls too.