January 21st, 2014. You may well have heard of a big ol’ show going down in Sochi next month. Ring any bells? Well, trust us: you’ll be hearing a whole lot more about this winter sports showcase hosted in nearby resorts purpose-built by Putin and his pals.
And O’Neill is excited to confirm that no fewer than eight Team O’Neill riders have jumped through all the hoops they needed to jump through to book those sought-after seats on the plane to Russia.
With a back catalogue of podium results as long as your arm, Sebastien Toutant found himself in the enviable position of being pre-qualified to represent Canada in Slopestyle snowboarding’s debut in Sochi. Widely regarded as one of the strongest and most consistent riders in the game, Toots will be going all-out to add some gold bling to his bulging trophy cabinet.
Seb Toots back home in Montreal – Photo: Yann Roy & Ren Rob
In Halfpipe snowboarding, Dutch freestyle rider Dimi de Jong, one of the brightest young talents to emerge from the European flatlands in recent years, has been guaranteed a place to fly his country’s flag in Halfpipe on the strength of his impressive 8th place finish at last season’s World Cup event in Park City, Utah. De Jong will also be joined in the U-tube by O’Neill teammate Johannes Höpfl from Germany.
Johannes Höpfl & Dimi de Jong
Moving on to freeskiing, David Wise locked in his Team USA spot for the debut of freeskiing under those big interlocking, colorful rings by storming his way to victory in the Halfpipe finals at the US Grand Prix in Breckenridge, Colorado. Gunning for a medal in women’s Halfpipe skiing, meanwhile, will be Switzerland’s Virgine Faivre, the reigning FIS World Champion.
David Wise – Photo: Fausto Wyller & Frode Sandbech
Virginie Faivre – Photos: David Birri
In Slopestyle skiing, O’Neill will be cheering on Norwegian medal hopeful Oystein Braten, as well as German freeskier Sabrina Cakmakli, who punched her own ticket after making the finals in what was only her third World Cup Halfpipe event up in Canada earlier this month. Team O’Neill compadre Silvia Bertagna will be flying the Italian flag in the same event.
Oystein Braten, Sabrina Cakmakli and Silvia Bertagna
We’ll be watching eagerly as each rider drops in for their shot at snowboarding or skiing immortality. Stay tuned for more news from the O’Neill contingent in the coming weeks, and in the meantime join us in wishing our riders all the best, Russian-style: Udaci!
For more information, please visit this website www.oneill.com