CFSA predicts two ski pipe medals for Canada in the next Olympics
Just two weeks after ski halfpipe secured a berth at the Winter Olympics, Canadian Freestyle Ski Association CEO Peter Judge is forecasting that Canada will take two medals in the pipe in Sochi.
Judge is basing his prediction on the fact that Canada is a veritable hotbed of ski halfpipe talent, with Canadian athletes currently holding the titles of World Champion (Mike Riddle and Rosalind Groenewoud), World Cup Champion (Sarah Burke), X Games Champion (Sarah Burke) and Junior World Champion (Noah Bowman) amongst numerous others.
Judge had nothing but praise for the elite group of athletes who have, to date, built their own halfpipe programs and footed their own bills for coaching, travel and equipment.
“We have a lot of confidence in these athletes because we have seen the depth and quality of their performances. From the gene pool they have amassed and the intellectual property they have already developed, we see that we are in a great position to build a team,” said Judge, alluding to the fact that now that this third freestyle discipline has its Olympic spot, the top Canadian pipe athletes will be eligible to be considered for a newly created National Halfpipe Ski Team that the CFSA plans to form with funding from Own the Podium.
The CFSA has taken the first step by hiring veteran coach, Olympian and ski industry leader Trennon Paynter to build a new National Team.
Paynter has been privately coaching many of the nation’s top halfpipe skiers, including Burke, Riddle and Groenewoud, for several years and welcomes the opportunity to continue in this role with improved access to facilities and support services for these athletes.
In addition to OTP funding, top performers will also be eligible for Sport Canada carding. Paynter said that will have a significant impact on performance. “For some of these guys the biggest challenge they face is earning enough money to support their training. Taking the financial burden off their shoulders will provide a huge advantage, because it means they’ll be able to train more.”