The curtain falls of the Vorarlberg and Liechtenstein 2015 European Youth Olympic Festival (EYOF 2015) with this evening’s Closing Ceremony and we’ve caught up with some of our athletes to pick out their favourite moments from the past seven days.
Kirsty Guest and Zak Vinter both produced top 30 results this week against a very strong field of Europe’s elite junior skiers and Guest believes testing herself against the best have been a great learning experince.
“This whole week at EYOF 2015 has been brilliant and I’ve really enjoyed learning from the top girls racing here,” said Guest.
“It’s really inspired me to kick on and push myself to the next level starting straight away with training next week, said Guest.
Guest was joined by Sofia Iglina, Anna Henderson and Jess Anderson, with the latter two joining Robert Poth and Euan Kick in the mixed team event this morning.
Jordan Fellows, who’s week ended early after an unfortunate hand injury during his giant slalom race, completed the team and the 17-yar-old was still able to enjoy the Festival and being part of a larger team with athletes from different disciplines.
“It has been great to be part of Team GB with different sports. We’ve all enjoyed getting to know each other and learning about each other’s competitions,” Fellows.
“We’ve all bonded well and get on –they’re a great bunch. So it’s been a good week despite the injury and hopefully I can come back and do something similar again. It’s great to experience what life at a Winter Olympics would be like too.”
Cross Country Skiing
Lynne Gray will leave Vorarlberg and Liechtenstein with two new personal bests to her name after a successful EYOF 2015 on the cross country ski course.
Gray was quick to point to the support she received from all nations while racing as the key reason for her performances in Steg, Liechtenstein.
“I’ve really enjoyed the whole week but my highlight was Wednesday’s race because there was a really big crowd watching,” said Gray.
“There were lots of school children cheering really loudly for everyone so that gave me a boost. They gave us high fives after we had finished which was really nice.
“Seeing GB flags dotted around the course is such a boost too. My dad even made a big ‘Go Lynne’ sign, which I loved.”
Racing alongside Gray were teammates Beth Maclean and Duncan Gibb, with Gibb given the honour of being Team GB’s Opening Ceremony flagbearer earlier this week after a vote by the athletes.
“Carrying the British flag at the Opening Ceremony was one of the best experiences of my life. The atmosphere was incredible and being able to represent my country was unbelievable,” said the 17-year-old from Aberdeenshire.
A top ten finish for both of Team GB’s figure skaters rounded off a good week on the ice for Danielle Harrison and Josh Brown, particularly after each suffered a bootlace snap during their free programmes.
“I am really chuffed with how today went, especially with what happened after the first jump, because I nailed all my jumps after that which I am really glad of,” said Brown.
“It has been an amazing experience and I will definitely take on the lessons learnt to future competitions.”
Despite dropping 12 places from 22nd to 10th after a superb free programme performance, Harrison insisted her highlight of EYOF 2015 was the first time she put on the Olympic Rings.
“I really enjoyed our first get together at Bisham Abbey before we flew out - it was really exciting to see all my Team GB kit and try it on. That’s when things really sunk in,” said Harrison.
Ayla Thidling and Glen Ironside joined forces to secure a 9th place finish in the snowboard cross mixed team event – Team GB’s third top 10 of EYOF 2015.
Earlier in the week Thidling and Ironside both competed in the individual events, finishing 24th and 13th respectively, but Thidling says she’s enjoyed the off the snow element of the Festival as much as the racing itself.
“This week has been so much fun. I loved riding the team event as there’s just such a cool atmosphere with it,” said Thidling.
“It’s been great to get to know the other athletes in Team GB too. We’ve lived together for a week so you get close and end up learning so much about their preparation, training and schedules as well as competitions. It’s been a great experience.”
Sarah Gosling, Team GB's Chef de Mission
“As the Chef de Mission at EYOF 2015 I have learnt a lot and loved every minute. Winter sports are challenging and the elements and competition has made it a tough week for us.
“It’s great to see the athletes grow as the week progressed, and once the nerves were overcome it was terrific to see many personal best performances. These, their first steps in an Olympic environment, will prove vital if they progress to senior Olympic Winter Games.”