Zoe Chore and the Youth Olympic Games
Zoe Chore was one of 1,100 young athletes, 54 from Canada, aged of 15 to 18 and from 70 nations who competed in the 2016 Youth Olympic Games (YOG) in Lillehammer, Norway.
The Youth Olympic Games (YOG) is sporting events for young people, where sport meets culture and education including learning about Olympic values. It also the first time the young athletes appear on the world stage. Thousands of spectators came to see the up and coming athletes. The press, including the YOG youth reporters, covered all events.
When athletes were not competing, they were attending workshops focused on Olympism, skills development, well-being, social lifestyle and a healthy lifestyle among other topics. By collaborating with each other in the workshops they also learned from each other about across borders, cultures, languages and sport disciplines.
“I met so many new friends, I know I will see again. I felt so proud to be from Canada and from the Kootenays. Most of the people didn’t know where that was but I think they will all know about skiing in Kimberley now,” Chore said.
The specially designed course was set up on a natural terrain with artificial features including turns, roller sections, jumps and banked turns. After the gates dropped, four competitors raced gates and features and fought for the line that will get them to the bottom first. Ski cross is not for everyone, racers must not only master the terrain and its features but be confident racing shoulder to shoulder with three other racers fighting for the same best line. You might be the best but if another skier bumps into you, you might lose precious time or worst crash and not finish on the podium, which make ski cross probably the most exciting and entertaining ski event to watch. In ski cross anything can happen!
The ski cross event consist of qualification and finals (group heats, semifinals, the small final and the big final). In the qualification phase, competitors take a timed run, and the top 16 ranked competitors go through to the finals. At this event they raced in a round robin format compared to the traditional elimination format.
Competitors are divided into group heats of four competitors. All competitors eventually compete against each other and based upon the ranking of each heat are awarded points. After the group heats, the top eight ranked competitors advance to the semifinals. The top two ranked competitors from each semifinal advance to the big final, while the remaining competitors move to the small final.
The Team Ski-Snowboard Cross (two women, two men, two skiers, two boarders) consists of finals only. The quarter-finals, semi-finals, big final and small final are divided into heats of up to four teams. The top two teams from each race advance to the next phase.
Zoe Chore, who hasn’t looked back since her friend India Sherret introduced her to the sport two years ago, participated in both events. She was third in the Ladies’ Ski Cross timed trials and first in four out of the five group heats. In the semifinals two girls drafting behind her past her which dropped her from the semifinals costing her the dreams of a medal. Chore finished second in the small final ranking her sexth for the event. In the team event, Zoe’s team, one Spanish and three Canadians, placed fourth.
“I wanted to win and knew I could but it wasn’t my day,” says Chore. “It has been hard to look back but each time I do it pushes me harder. I like being on the podium, it takes hard work, focus and dedication and that’s where I want to go.”
Lillehammer 2016 YOG was a one in a lifetime experience for Chore and a totally new level of competition for her.
“When I first got to the hill, it was a bit intimidating. I have never seen or raced against this group of girls before. It was hard to judge where I lie in the field. Most of the other girls, despite where they come from, train in Europe all winter. I realized how much I value coming from Cranbrook where I have been able to be involved in other sports like soccer, rowing and track and where my home hill, Kimberley, is always welcoming,” Chore said.
She added she would like to thank the 3,000 volunteers, the people of Lillehammer, her Canadian support crew from Alpine Canada, fellow teammates, her coaches (past and present), and all the people who have supported her back home.
For more info on the Winter Youth Olympic Games visit the official website or go here.
Lead image: (From Left) Minja Lehikoinen FIN, Veronica Edebo SWE and Zoe Chore CAN (purple helmet) compete during the Ladies Ski Cross heats at the Hafjell Freepark during the Winter Youth Olympic Games, Lillehammer Norway, February 15. Photos: Simon Bruty for YIS/IOC Handout image supplied by YIS/IOC
Submitted by Jane Davies