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ANALYSIS: GB AT WINTER OLYMPICS - Jane Peel, Chief Reporter
Thursday January 25, 2018 - Email this article to a friend

GB's squad of Winter Olympian skiers and snowboarders is pretty much as expected, but there'll be a few disappointed athletes out there. We look behind the headlines.




It's the biggest team ever to go to a Winter Games.

Team GB will be taking 25 snowsport athletes to Pyeongchang.

See our report which includes the full list of athletes and reaction from some of them:
The biggest name to miss out is 17-year-old freestyle skier Madi Rowlands.

She would certainly have been on the plane to South Korea had it not been for a badly timed knee injury sustained earlier this month.

Madi RowlandsMadi Rowlands misses out


























The 2016 Youth Winter Olympic halfpipe champion and slopestyle bronze medallist had already achieved the qualification standards in both events but the injury ruled her out of her first full Olympics.

When she spoke to PlanetSKI last autumn, she was fully expecting to make it to Pyeongchang and it will be a big blow to miss out.

She ended last season ranked second overall in the Association of Freeski Professionals (AFP) standings.

While Rowlands is bound to get another chance - she'll be just 21 at the Beijing Winter Olympics - that may not have been the case for the veteran Emily Sarsfield.

At 34, the Ski Cross racer is finally on her way to a Winter Olympics after twice missing out and is the oldest member of the squad.

Emily SarsfieldThird-time lucky for Emily Sarsfield


























At Vancouver in 2010 Sarsfield was injured so could not compete in the event, which had its Olympic debut there.

In 2014 she was controversially not selected for Sochi, despite receiving an invitation by the International Ski Federation.

She then spent almost two years out of competition having her knee rebuilt so it's great news that it's third-time lucky for her.

There are a few other skiers who will be celebrating securing their place as it was not a foregone conclusion that they would be on the team sheet.

They are freestyle skiers who didn't make it onto the list issued by British Ski and Snowboard to the media back in the autumn of athletes likely to be at Pyeongchang.

They are Tyler Harding, who's 21 and will make his Olympic debut, and halfpipe skier Alexander Glavatsky-Yeadon.  The latter will compete alongside Pete Speight and Murray Buchan in the event.

They get the nod after some impressive results in competition this season.

Alexander Glavatsky-Yeadon & Pete SpeightAlexander Glavatsky-Yeadon & Pete Speight































Harding has had a breakthrough on the World Cup circuit which saw him earn his first top 10 in France just before Christmas.

Tyler HardingTyler Harding



























He will compete in ski slopestyle which is one of Team GB's strongest snowsports disciplines.

James Woods is a four-time World Cup winner in ski slopestyle and finished fifth in Sochi despite a painful hip injury which hampered his performance. He is a definite medal prospect.

Katie Summerhayes finished seventh in ski slopestyle in Sochi and returns for her second Games as a perennial contender having finished inside the top 10 at seven of her past nine World Cups including second at Stubai in November.

She has recently been out injured but her recovery has come just in time for Pyeongchang.

Also competing in the event will be Isabel Atkin who has made a name for herself over the past 12 months.

The 19-year-old competed at her first X-Games, earned a World Championships bronze medal and stood on the World Cup podium twice, including victory at Silvaplana last March.

James Woods and Isabel AtkinJames Woods and Isabel Atkin


































Rowan Cheshire will be looking for Olympic redemption when she lines up for the ladies' halfpipe in South Korea.

Cheshire was highly-fancied going into Sochi having won a World Cup just a month before but a crash in training ruled her out of competition.

Her return to the top over the past four years has been cautious but she is finally ready to make her Olympic debut.

Rowan CheshireRowan Cheshire



























She will be joined in the halfpipe by 20-year-old Molly Summerhayes - sister of Katie - who is off to her first Games.

The 20-year-old is the 2015 Junior World Champion and broke through for her first career World Cup top 10 in China late last year.

There are no real surprises on the freestyle snowboarding front, though Matt McCormick is likely to be disappointed not to make it. He is down as a reserve in the event of a late withdrawal.

Others who might have been in with a shout but are not included are: alpine skiers Charlie Raposo and Jack Gower; cross-country skier James Clugnet; ski cross racers Pam Thorburn and Liz Stevenson and snowboard cross racer Maisie Potter.

There's no place either for moguls skier Thomas Gerken-Schofield.

Thomas Gerken-SchofieldNo place for Thomas Gerken-Schofield





















For many of those selected there is a real chance of Top 10 finishes and some, of course, are genuine medal contenders.

They include Katie Ormerod and Billy Morgan - both of whom will have a chance in snowboard slopestyle and the new Olympic discipline of Big Air - James Woods, Isabel Atkin, Katie Summerhayes, Dave Ryding and Andrew Musgrave.

UK Sport has set a target of least two medals from GB's skiers and snowboarders, which is precisely double the country's previous best after slopestyle snowboarder Jenny Jones won bronze at Sochi.

MedalsReady and waiting.....
























And what's particularly heartening for the future is the youth of many of those in the squad which has an average age of 24.

For a lot, this will be their first taste of Olympic competition and they'll be aiming to put the experience to good use and build on it for 2022 or even 2026.

But what they can do in Pyeongchang will give us some indication of whether British Ski and Snowboard is on course to meet its target of becoming a Top Five snowsports nation across all disciplines by 2030.

Finally,   there's one other thing we think worthy of note: four alpine skiers have been selected - two men (Dave Ryding, Laurie Taylor) and two women (Alex Tilley, Charlie Guest) - which is great news as the quartet will join up to compete in the brand new Alpine Team Event.

See here for the main PlanetSKI news page with all the latest stories from the mountains.


For the Spirit of the Mountains - PlanetSKI: No1 for ski news

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