Saturday, January 28, 2006

Nike ACG UK Weekely Update W/E 28/01/06

Afternoon everyone!

It’s no surprise that the first thing worth recapping on this week is the great news of Dan and Zoe’s Olympic qualification. It was announced on Wednesday morning and, despite not coming as a surprise, was definitely worth celebrating; not least for Dan and Zoe who’ve worked incredibly hard at getting themselves to this point. However, they haven’t been sitting back and revelling in their success, far from it.

Zoe Gillings

Zoe sent a stark reminder to the BOA selection committee last week when she scored a 3rd place in the World Cup event in Vars (France) on Saturday 21st Jan. It underlines that she’s getting back to her full race speed and naturally it has sent her confidence sky high. Zoe promptly went up the hill the following day and put in one of the fastest times in qualifying for the Europa Cup race. .

Zoe’s got a quiet build up to the Games from here. Her next competitive race will be on 17th Feb when the women take to course in Bardonecchia. BBC 2’s coverage is scheduled to begin at 12:30: they will screen the finals live. Eurosport will review the qualifying from 12:45 and go to the finals live at 13:00. Best to check times again on the day just to be safe!

Also, news just in: McDonalds will be posting a good luck message to Zoe on their giant screen in Piccadilly Circus during the Games. We gather that it will flash up intermittently so keep an eye out if you’re passing!

Dan Wakeham

Dan has pulled off a huge result in his qualification for the Games. This time last year he was being overlooked for a World Cup start and had to make do with the Europa Cup instead in order to justify his start place on the World Cup circuit. The result in Leysin has done him a world of good and reports coming back from the continent indicate that his riding has gone up a level in the last 10 days or so. Having qualified for the finals of the O’Neill Pro Freestyle in Avoriaz he decided to shoot over to Zermatt yesterday to take part in the Europa Cup halfpipe event out there. He was unlucky not to podium, coming in a close 4th. Dan’s schedule now involves him getting his travel weary body some rest before he makes his way over to Turin.

BBC 2’s coverage of the Men’s halfpipe finals kicks off at 12:45 on February 12th. Eurosport will commence their live coverage from 14:15. Again, times could well vary so keep checking.

Welcome: Rebecca Cullum

Rebecca (sister to GB junior team member Sam) Cullum is the latest addition to the UK team. We’re really excited about the opportunity to work with one of the brightest stars in UK female snowboarding. At the age of 15 she is still competing in the junior ranks of the British scene but she’s making quite an impression. In 2004 she took home a stunning 4th place at the Burton European Open junior halfpipe event as well as cleaning up in every discipline at the Orange Brits in Les Deux Alpes. We look forward to bringing you more news on her developments very soon.

Murray Buchan

Murray’s talents have not gone un-noticed; rumours are that Spy optic (goggles) are making a move for our young ripper. We’ll keep you posted on developments.

Have a good weekend and keep your fingers crossed for bluebird sky and fresh tracks in the Alps next week as that's where I'm heading!

All the best


Wednesday, January 25, 2006

British Snowboard Olympic Team Announced

The British snowboard team was today announced for the Turin Games and as expected the team will be Dan Wakeham (Mens Halfpipe), Zoe Gillings (Womens SBX - see photo), Kate Foster (Womens Halfpipe) and Lesley McKenna (Womens Halfpipe).

Dan and Kate really hit form at the right time making the team at the last world cup in Leysin event both with top 10 results.

Dan has this week taken some time off World Cup comps and is doing the O'Neill Freestyle in Avoriaz. He was best on the day in prelims and that qualified him straight into the semis - the boy's on fire.

Kate stomped Lesley McKenna at Leysin and word has it Lesley was not happy with the youngster taking her mantle as UK queen of the pipe. So they'll be pride at stake come Turin.

Zoe had a top 3 result earlier in the week and coming back after a big injury in April last year. So she is also hitting form at the right time. She is amazingly stoked to be going to the Olympics..."I've re-read the BOA release about 10 times. I can't believe I'm going.'

So this proves it. The Brits are no longer 'also rans' in the world of Snowboarding. Coach Craig Smith should feel well proud of himself being resonsible for bringing Dan, Zoe and Kate up to world class level.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Dan Wakeham Crippler Posted by Picasa

Dan Wakeham becomes the first ever male Brit Snowboarder to make the Olympics

British number one halfpipe snowboarder KAOS client and Nike ACG sponsored rider Dan Wakeham last week finished 5th in the World Cup event in Leysin Switzerland.

Dan qualified 6th in his heat giving him a path through to the finals. And it was here that he really shone stomping a clean run with good amplitude on tricks including Haakon and Cab 9’s.

Dan was totally stoked after the event. ‘I knew I could do it. I’ve been so solid in training and it was only a matter of time before I started taking that form into competition which I’m now doing. My first run in the finals was really clean with good style and amplitude. After everyone had done their first run I was in third place. My second run didn't go quite so well with a crash on a 720 but my first run was good enough to position me with a 5th overall’

The result means Dan has achieved all the qualifying criteria set by the BOA and is now expected to form part of the British Olympic team for
Turin. Dan will be the first ever British male Olympic snowboarder. The final team will be announced next Wednesday 25th Jan. The Olympic halfpipe event is being held on the 12th February in Bardonecchia Italy.