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2024 Gangwon Winter Youth Olympic Games

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Twelve Freestyle Ski and Snowboard Athletes Selected for 2024 Gangwon Winter Youth Olympic Games

Reigning 2023 Snowboard Slopestyle Junior World Champion Lucia Georgalli and 2023 Junior World Championship Freeski Slopestyle bronze medallist Mischa Thomas are among the first exciting tranche of athletes named to the New Zealand Team for the Gangwon 2024 Winter Youth Olympic Games.

“Finding out I was selected for the Youth Olympic Team made me feel really stoked,” said Lucia.

“I am excited to experience the Olympic village and meet other athletes from all around world. Winning Junior World Champs earlier this year was an important moment in my career and gives me a lot of confidence going into the Youth Olympic Games.”

Joining Lucia (Wānaka, 16, Snowboard Slopestyle and Big Air) are snowboarders Campbell Melville Ives (Wānaka, 17, Snowboard Halfpipe), Txema Mazet-Brown (Raglan, 17, Snowboard Slopestyle and Big Air), Ava Beer (Te Anau, 15, Snowboard Slopestyle and Big Air), and Joshua Li (Auckland, 13, Snowboard Slopestyle and Big Air) who will be the youngest snow sports athlete on the team and one of the youngest athletes at the Games, with his birthday just inside the qualifying date range.
 
The snowboarders will be joined by six freeskiers. Mischa Thomas (Auckland, 15), Luke Harrold (Lake Hawea, 15), Fergus McArthur (Auckland, 17) and Madeleine Disbrowe (Queenstown, 15) will all compete in Freeski Slopestyle and Big Air, while Finley Melville Ives (Wānaka, 17) and Liam Richards (Auckland, 15) will contest Freeski Halfpipe.
 
Mischa explained; “It feels pretty insane to be selected to represent New Zealand at the Winter Youth Olympic Games in January. It has been a goal of mine to get selected for the Games for over a year, so I am very excited and super honoured to wear the fern for the first time in my career.”
 
Rounding out today’s selection is Ski Cross athlete Campbell Appel (17, Freestyle Ski Cross).

The freestyle ski and snowboard selections are conditional on receiving an official FIS (International Ski Federation) quota place for the games.

In addition to the events above, if the quotas are received and the event entries are not exceeded, the following athletes will be able to start in the following events: Cam Melville Ives ( Men’s Snowboard Slopestyle and Big Air), Fin Melville Ives (Men’s Freeski Slopestyle and Big Air), Luke Harrold (Men’s Freeski Halfpipe) and Ava Beer (Women’s Snowboard Halfpipe* (*subject to further conditions)).
 
The first group of athletes selected to represent New Zealand at Gangwon 2024 have recorded a slew of incredible results over the past twelve-months. In addition to the 2023 Junior World Championship podiums, Finley Melville Ives has achieved two sixth place finishes at World Cup level, Luke Harrold has claimed numerous European and North American Cup podiums and Ava Beer rode her way to a second-place finish at the World Rookie Tour Finals.
 
New Zealand Olympic Committee CEO Nicki Nicol extended her congratulations to the athletes.
 
“We’re really pleased to have begun naming our team for Gangwon and are excited at the potential of these young athletes,” said Nicol.

 
“I had the pleasure of seeing many of them in action at Winter Games NZ earlier this year and I’m looking forward to seeing them show the world what they can do early next year.”
 
Snow Sports NZ CEO Nic Cavanagh also congratulated the athletes.
 
“On behalf of Snow Sports NZ and the entire snow sports community, I’d like to congratulate the athletes selected today to represent New Zealand at the Winter Youth Olympic Games. These athletes represent the future of our sport, and we wish them all the best as they continue to grow New Zealand’s reputation as a dominant force in the disciplines of freestyle skiing and snowboarding,” said Cavanagh.
 
“Following multiple podium success at this year’s FIS Junior World Championships, these athletes are ranked amongst the best age group athletes for their chosen disciplines. We look forward to them wearing the fern and representing New Zealand with pride when they compete in South Korea.”

Cooper Breen (13, Freeski Halfpipe), Hamish Barlow (17, Freeski Slopestyle and Big Air), and Sylvia Trotter (16, Freeski Slopestyle and Big Air) have been named as reserves.
  
Further Gangwon 2024 selections will take place ahead of the Games with alpine, ice figure skating, luge, and curling athletes working towards the team.
 
The Winter Youth Olympic Games will take place in Gangwon, South Korea from January 19 – February 1, 2024.


 Photo – Lucia Georgalli in action today
 
About the Gangwon 2024 Winter Youth Olympic Games
 
Gangwon 2024 will be a celebration of sport, competition, culture and education, with the Games being held in the Gangwon Province (across 4 cities – Gangneung, Pyeongchang, Jeongseon, and Hoengseong) of South Korea.
 
The Games will run January 19 – February 1 and will welcome almost 2000 young athletes (aged between 14 and 18 years old) from around the world to compete in 7 sports, 15 disciplines and 81 events.
 
New Zealand is expected to be represented by around 20 athletes at Gangwon with athletes working towards selection in biathlon, curling, luge, ice figure skating and snow sports.
 
Gangwon 2024 aims to build upon the Olympic Games legacy, using many of the existing venues from the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games. The aim is to ensure a cost efficient and sustainable Youth Olympic Games, while at the same time providing young athletes the opportunity to compete in some of the same sites as Olympians did a few years ago.

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