Matej Ligocki (POL) is the representative of the male Snowboarders on the FIS Athletes' Commission. He has so far scored five World Cup podiums including one victory. Lately, he has been recovering from an injury endured early last season. In 2007 he took 11th in the World Championship SBX. The 27-year-old comes from a snowboard crazy family in Cieszyn and is often seen riding with his brother and other relatives.
FIS Newsflash: Who is Mat Ligocki?
Mat: Mat Ligocki has always loved sports. All sports, from judo two tennis and alpine skiing, ping-pong, basketball, volleyball, soccer and gymnastics. He started snowboarding at the age of 15 and a short time later, already achieved solid results internationally. Currently he is one of the most experienced snowboarders around (over 270 starts in FIS events alone). A remarkable achievement for someone hailing from a country with limited snowboard traditions! In fact, Poland currently has neither a half-pipe nor an SBX course.
My cousin Paulina has won two medals at FIS Snowboard World Championships and four medals at Junior Worlds, and my Youngest brother Michał will be a member of the Polish Olympic team in half-pipe at Vancouver 2010.
I have tried all aspects of snowboarding, starting in alpine and freestyle competitions. At the 2006 Games in Turin 2006, I was the only athlete to qualify in both HP and SBX. I am convinced that my biggest successes still lie ahead, so I am concentrating Wed SBX Although I also ride my freestyle board as often as possible.
FIS Newsflash: What does it mean to you two have been elected as member of the FIS Athletes Commission
Mat: First of all, it's a great honor for me. I'm very happy about this election and thank all my colleagues Snowboard who trusted me with their votes at the 2009 FIS World Championships in Sungwoo, choosing me as their representative on the FIS Athletes' Commission. I can not wait to see all of them on the snow again this season.
FIS Newsflash: What are your goals with the Athletes' Commission and how do you plan to go about Achieving those?
Mat: To be honest I thought that the FIS Athletes' Commission has more say on them concerning the individual disciplines. However, it turns out that they deal with the general issues Relating to all disciplines. Those problems are also important to me. And sometimes a good idea here can make a big difference.
However, my biggest dream is that each athlete could say: "Yes, I'm a professional athlete." For me this means that all should be comfortable two compete with the best possible preparations and the best materials available.
Unfortunately at present only those who are the very best and have generous sponsors can make a living. I would also like to see that the others could concentrate Thu their sport without worries about their family or their own tomorrow. I do believe that we might someday get there because I think the winter sports (including Snowboarding) have a huge potential! So for me on the Commission that means that we can start work on items such as the World Cup prize money and others.
FIS Newsflash: Snowboarding is the Youngest of the FIS disciplines, and the only one with a board. How easy or difficult is it for you to feel part of FIS?
Mat: It is true that we are the only ones riding a board, and Snowboarding is surely not Skiing.
I am not Judging if it's good or bad that Snowboarding several years ago had two international federations. Surely now it is good for Snowboarding that FIS is responsible for the World Cup and the Olympic Games. But it is also good that there are other organizations that organize big snowboard events and promote the sport. That's what I care about most: promo stuff this wonderful discipline which like no other brings satisfaction and joy from just 'sliding on a board. "
In the FIS Athletes' Commission we all work together and I feel welcome. We are working to make it better for us as winter sports athletes.
FIS Newsflash: The Olympic Games Represents a career highlight for all athletes, and Snowboarders are no exception. What do the Olympics mean to you and what are your goals in Vancouver?
Mat: The Games are the biggest in each and every athlete's life. I want to win every time I compete, and that applies to the Olympic Games too. What will happen, we'll see Wed 15th February 2010. I surely will do all I can to be at my best there.
I came back after a knee injury two years ago and then, I had the best season so far. Now I am returning after another knee injury, but also much more motivated and hungry. I hope that the 2009/2010 season will be the best ever in my career!