South African ski athletes shine in Switzerland

 

This past February, Connor Wilson, along with Elizabeth Olivier and Sive Speelman, represented South Africa at the FIS (International Ski Federation) Alpine World Ski Championships St Moritz 2017, which has taken place every two years since 1931.

FIS (International Ski Federation) Alpine World Ski Championships St Moritz 2017

The World Championships is the most important event on the alpine calendar, apart from the Winter Olympic Games, and this was the fifth time that the event has been held in St Moritz, Switzerland. Seven hundred athletes from approximately 70 nations from around the world competed this year in various disciplines including Technical Events of Slalom and Giant Slalom to the Speed Events of Downhill and Super G.

Wilson completed every run for which he was entered and finished in the top half of all competitors in both the Slalom and Giant Slalom qualifiers, placing 49th out of 135 in the Slalom qualifier. He also finished 54th of 107 competitors in the Giant Slalom final against the top skiers in the world. This is a major feat for South African ski athletics, as South Africans normally begin skiing much later in life in comparison to their European counterparts. Added to this, South African skiers have less time on snow during the year.

Wilson is able to train at Afriski Resort in Lesotho during the winter season, while Olivier and Speelman train at the Tiffindell Ski Resort in the Eastern Cape under the expert instruction of Alex Heath, the national coach. St Moritz hosted over 165 000 spectators during the two-week competition and even tennis star, Roger Federer, came to lend his support as the crowds cheered on all competitors.

[f] Send your congratulatory messages to Wilson, Speelman and Olivier by tweeting the @RK_Gazette.

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