Sochi hope Machon still inspired by Ennis Olympic gold

04 February 2014 / 06:49

Freestyle skier James Machon isn't short of local inspiration as he prepares to make his Olympic debut in Sochi.

But it isn't team-mates and fellow Sheffield skiers James Woods and Katie Summerhayes he dreams of emulating but another athlete from the Steel City.

"What Jess Ennis did at London 2012 still gives me goosebumps. To have all that pressure on her, everyone was expecting her win, and to win an Olympic gold like that, it was just incredible," said Machon, who competes in the ski halfpipe discipline.

"She is my role model and my sporting hero and it helps that she's also from my hometown.

"Her achievements give me even more motivation about achieving my goals in Sochi and beyond."

However, four-time British champion Machon insists having Woods and Summerhayes as team-mates has also helped him prepare for his big moment in Russia.

"We're all from the same place and we're all on the same journey," he added.

"It's great to have a group and be part of a British team. We travel and stay together and we're friends. This is an individual sport but it doesn't feel like that when you are surrounded by team-mates."

Snowboard halfpipe has been part of the Games since Nagano in 1998 but skiers have never competed before, with the discipline one of several new eye-catching additions to the programme in Sochi.

And Machon, who was sidelined for most of last year after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament, is determined to seize his chance and make a big impression in a discipline where fortune truly does favour the brave.

"I think I would have stood a good chance of making the team in Vancouver and I was pretty gutted when it wasn't included," he added.

"I remember calling my Mum when I found out it was on the programme for Sochi and she was so excited.

"Shaun White (the reigning double Olympic champion) has done so much for snowboarding and hopefully the skiers will show the world how it's done as well.

"It has been my dream to be an Olympian since I was young and I'm now in the best shape I've ever been in having worked so hard to get over my injury."

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