29 May 2015

European Youth Olympic Festival - Round Up from Team Athlete Jess Anderson


This year I had the honour to have been chosen to represent Team GB at the European Youth Olympic Winter Games Festival in Austria and Lichtenstein. I was one of 4 girls chosen for Alpine along with 4 boys.

On Friday 23rd January all athletes had to attend Bisham Abbey for our kitting out session, meet all the officials who would be attending with us and meeting all the other GB athletes for the other Winter disciplines.  We also attended a number of sessions including media which were really interesting.  The Adidas kit we given were absolutely brilliant and made even more special with the Team GB and Olympic rings logos on everything.

The Opening Ceremony was amazing and it really hit home the importance of the occasion when we all lined up in our matching kit to proudly walk into the stadium with the Union Flag. There were the official speeches and then a little girl came down from the ski jump in a chair carrying the torch over everyone’s head and the flame was lit.

The first event for the girls was the slalom.  There were over 90 girls in the race so it was a big field – I wasn’t very happy with my first run as the goal was always to get into the top 30 so that I would get the better conditions for the second run. I ended up 41st so knew I had to go for it in the second run – I ended up 32nd overall (14th 1998 girl) and top GB girl,  so all in all put in a credible performance.

Due to the weather the programme changed so instead of getting a day off in between we were back up racing the following day in GS.  I was feeling very positive about my GS but the course was extremely tricky and we lost nearly half the field in the first run.  Unfortunately I was one of them after carrying too much speed onto the flats and couldn’t make the gate.  I was happy in how I had attacked the steep and was really pushing all the way, which was a real positive to take away.

We also spent some time watching other sports like the ice hockey and also getting to know the other athletes and to see that they have to work just as hard as we do to reach the top of their sport.

Our final event was the head to head GS team race.  Only 16 teams qualified and we managed to pull Austria who eventually won the gold.  We thought we would do well as we enjoy the head to head formats – everyone put in 100% but we ended up getting knocked out and everyone had huge smiles on their faces though  as we had enjoyed it so much.

Friday evening saw the closing ceremony and the extinguishing of the Olympic flame – we swapped some bits of kit like hats and t shirts with other nations which was fun and then headed back to pack and fly back to UK.

So how would I sum up my experience – out of this world!  I have learnt so much about being an Olympian, I have made some great new friends and I have memories which will never leave me.

Being a member of Team GB has been an absolute privilege and it was an honour to have been chosen.


Main photo: Credit TeamGB

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