British aerial skier Lloyd Wallace is confident of qualifying for next year’s Olympics in Sochi after a long summer preparing his acrobatic skills on water ramps in Switzerland and Canada.
The 18-year-old is bidding for one of just 25 places available for the men’s aerials competition in Russia, which are picked from the FIS-OWG ranking list with Wallace currently in 36th place.
Wallace, who is studying sports performance at the University of Bath, is used to being a lone Brit on tour and, without a UK facility for aerials, has spent the last few summers abroad.
He has encamped with both the Swiss and Canadian national teams, their water ramps enabling practice by jumping from a dry slope into huge pools to perfect somersaults and twists with skis on.
Sarah Ainsworth was Great Britain’s one and only representative in aerials at the last Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver in 2010, where she placed 22nd on debut.
Wallace’s season begins in Beijing in December, where an aerial hill will be built inside the Olympic Stadium, with the Games qualifying period ending on January 19 – and he’s excited by the challenge ahead.
“There are six or seven people above me who aren’t in the top four of their nation so won’t be offered places, so in reality I only need to move up four or five places to make the cutoff,” said Wallace.
“We also work on trampoline using bungee powered twisting rigs, which is huge fun. This year I’ve been working a lot on my technicality, and my form.
“Aerials is a judged sport, like diving, so clean and precise form is as important as the difficulty. I’m aiming to perform a full double-full, a triple twisting double somersault.
“It is feeling really good now, but doing it on snow will be a big day for me. I can’t even imagine what that will feel like [in the Olympic Stadium in Beijing] but it has to be impressive.”
© Sportsbeat 2013