Olympic Medallists Lead GB Freestyle Squads Into Winter
2nd September 2020 | Jane Peel, Chief Reporter
Last modified on September 7th, 2020
The park and pipe skiers and snowboarders who will represent Great Britain in 2020-21 have been announced and three Winter Olympic medallists are among them.
They are skiers Gus Kenworthy and Izzy Atkin and snowboarder Billy Morgan.
It will come as no surprise that Sochi 2014 silver medallist Kenworthy and Pyeongchang 2018 bronze medallist are the top names in the Ski A squad.
But the inclusion of Morgan, who won an unexpected bronze in the inaugural Olympic Big Air competition at Pyeongchang, in the Snowboard A squad may raise some eyebrows.
The A squads are generally made up of athletes expected to compete at World Cup level.
In an interview with PlanetSKI in late Spring, Morgan denied suggestions in the media that he was planning to retire from competition altogether but said he did not fancy the stress of the full World Cup circuit and trying to qualify for the Beijing Winter Games in 2022.
The 31-year-old said he wanted to concentrate more on ‘fun’ competitions and other projects, though he said he was still considering his future.
Does his inclusion mean he’s changed his mind or simply that he will travel to some World Cup contests, as he hinted he might? We will see.
The other big name in the Snowboard A Squad is Katie Ormerod, who will hope for another strong season of results in 2020-21 ahead of the Beijing Olympics.
She heads into the winter as the defending women’s overall slopestyle champion after becoming the first British snowboarder to win a Crystal Globe.
The achievement was all the more remarkable after the devastating injury which put her out of the last Winter Olympics and her long rehabilitation process.
The rest of the Snowboard A Squad is largely the same as last season and includes youngsters Gabe Adams and Mia Brookes.
The Ski A Squad is also made up of the same athletes as last year.
Gus Kenworthy, who joined the GB Freeski team in December 2019 and won his Olympic medal as a member of Team USA, will be a strong contender for more podiums this winter.
He won gold in the ski halfpipe World Cup in Calgary in February this year.
Izzy Atkin will also be hoping for more success after finishing on the World Cup podium on more than one occasion last winter.
She is once again, joined by her younger sister, Zoe, who earned her maiden World Cup victory in the ski halfpipe at Copper Mountain in Colorado in December 2019 at the age of 16.
James ‘Woodsy’ Woods, now a veteran of GB Park & Pipe is, quite obviously in the Ski A Squad.
The X Games and World Champion and multiple World Cup medallist had to sit out most of last winter with a serious knee injury.
He has been in New Zealand where, unlike most of his team mates, he has managed to benefit from spending some time on snow over the northern hemisphere summer.
Katie Summerhayes and Madi Rowlands – both of whom have been blighted by major injury in or illness in recent years – are also in the A Squad.
Katie Summerhayes fought her way back into the World Cup top 10 last winter with a sixth place finish in the slopestyle at Mammoth in California.
Another A Squad member is 16-year-old Kirsty Muir, who won Britain’s only medal at the Youth Winter Olympics in Lausanne last winter – a silver in the Big Air.
A handful of athletes have been given their chance to make a breakthrough with new names appearing in this year’s B teams.
They include skiers Rylan Evans, James Pouch and Sam Gaskin and snowboarders Lenny Fenning, Hayden Harvey-Smith and Charlie Lane.
THE FULL SQUADS
Freestyle Snowboard A Team
Gabe Adams, Fin Bremner, Billy Cockrell, Matt McCormick, Rowan Coultas, Billy Morgan, Jamie Nicholls, Mia Brookes, Katie Ormerod
Freestyle Snowboard B Team
Koby Cook, Leon Drynan, Max Jorge, Logan King, Lewis Moore, Ethan Smith, Liam Tynan, Lenny Fenning, Hayden Harvey-Smith, Charlie Lane
Freeski A Team
James Woods, Tyler Harding, Chris McCormick, Gus Kenworthy, Katie Summerhayes, Izzy Atkin, Kirsty Muir, Madi Rowlands, Zoe Atkin, Connie Brogden
Freeski B Team
Rylan Evans, James Pouch, Justin Taylor-Tipton, Tom Greenway, Harris Booth, Harry Wright, Sam Gaskin, Sam Ward