The news has spread like wildfire on across the globe today. Freeskiing men’s and women’s halfpipe will be included at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia. On the heels of this announcement that freeskiing halfpipe is officially an Olympic discipline, the Association of Freeskiing Professionals (AFP) prepares to crown it’s World Champions at the inaugural AFP World Championships in Whistler, BC. The world’s top freeskiing athletes will be in Whistler, from April 20 to April 24, showcasing their talents following the historic announcement from the International Olympic Committee (IOC). This exciting news has athletes and fans buzzing as the 2010/2011 competition season comes to a close with the AFP World Championships during the TELUS World Ski and Snowboard Festival.
“This is incredible news for the sport of freeskiing. We’re excited to take on the upcoming qualifications process and to ultimately reward these athletes with the recognition they deserve,” stated AFP Co-Founder and Media Director Christopher Jerard. “You can bet competitors will be energized at the AFP World Championship knowing that they are now potential Olympic athletes.”
Athletes are fired up, relieved, excited, stoked, pumped, humbled, anxious and ready to throw down. Simon Dumont, Superpipe superhero, X Games celebrity, AFP board member and inaugural AFP Men’s Overall Champion said, “Since I’ve started competing, the level of skiing has never been higher than it is now. “We’ve got kids like, Torin Yater-Wallace, who is only 15 years old and just bursting onto the scene. It makes sense for us to compete on the biggest world stage there is.”
“This is a great moment for freeskiing. I feel honored to be considered to be in the same class as an Olympic athlete. It’s exciting to be recognized as an Olympic caliber sport.”
“I hope to have the opportunity to go to Russia and make my country proud. I’ve been waiting for the chance to bring home a medal.”
On the women’s side, Jen Hudak, Dew Tour and X Games halfpipe goddess had this to say. “I have been waiting for this decision for over six years now, it is a dream come true! Now on to the next dream: getting myself there!”
“I am so thrilled that the IOC decided to include halfpipe skiing in the 2014 Games in Sochi. The level of the sport is high, the interest in it is even higher, the Olympics provide us with the ultimate stage to show our sport to the world!”
Freeskiing, in which competitors are judged for technicality and execution in many disciplines, is comprised of athletes from all around the world. The AFP acts as a governing body for the sport, providing measurable results and structure, and continues to push for growth on the professional level. In freeskiing’s Olympic debut, the AFP world rankings, the only global ranking of its kind, will likely play a part in the selection of the field of competitors. In January, the AFP World Ranking was used by many National Governing Bodies (NGB’s) to select the teams that represented their countries at the FIS World Championships, which took place this past February in Park City, Utah.
The highly anticipated announcement is not surprising to many freeskiiers, who have witnessed a significant jump in competition in the past few years. Steele Spence, AFP Director of Athlete Relations, had this to say about the growing sport, “the field of competitors has never been deeper or stronger. Talent is emerging from all parts of the world, as we’ve seen skiers like Russ Henshaw and Kevin Rolland rise to the top in the past year alone. The next two years are going to be fun to watch.”
For more information on upcoming events and news, visit http://afpworldtour.com.