Tomorrow (19th December) sees the beginning of the European leg of the Snowboardcross World Cup in Switzerland and riding in it will be Britain’s best hope for a medal in snowsports at the Winter Olympics Games in Vancouver 2010. Zoe Gillings is currently ranked 4th in the world in snowboardcross, a position she cemented with an excellent 4th place finish in the World Cup event in Argentina this September.
The 23-year-old from Arbory on the Isle of Man is the only British athlete riding in the World Cup Snowboardcross event in Arosa, Switzerland this weekend. Qualification will take place on Friday (19th December) with the finals taking place on Saturday (20th December).
Zoe is currently the highest-ranked snowsport athlete (snowboarder or skier) in Britain and is the British Olympic Association’s snowsport athlete of the year. In 2005 Zoe was ranked 4th in the world in her discipline. Since then she has made a remarkable recovery from a serious foot injury sustained that season which, at one time threatened, her ability to walk properly never mind compete again at the highest level in snowboarding.
At the end of the 2007-08 season, Zoe was ranked 7th in the world in snowboardcross and her results included a second place finish in the World Cup in Gujo-Gifu, Japan. Her improvement seen already this season is the result of intensive dry land training programme at the English Institute of Sport in the University of Bath, and on snow in Austria and Switzerland. Her stated aim is to win gold for Britain at Vancouver.
Zoë commented "I am really looking forward to the race here [in Arosa] because I am going into it with a lot of confidence after my 4th place in the last Would Cup".
"I had a sneaky look at the course before practice opened and it looked good. I was a bit concerned because last time I raced in Arosa the course wasn't very challenging and I ride better on more challenging courses. The first feature on the course is what's called a woo-tang which is one of the features I have been working on over the past couple of weeks so hopefully that work will pay off and allow me to get a good start".
"I can't wait to get on the course and start racing!"