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What we do > Events and Games > Games > 2017 World Winter Games > Updates from our Head of Delegation

Updates from our Head of Delegation


Friday 24 March 2017

Today was special....

Three experienced NZ athletes competed in the Slalom.

Jason had two smooth runs in a tough division and placed a very credible 5th place.

Michael had a nice first run and was sitting in 4th. He needed to make up one and a half seconds to get a medal....

He took advice from his coach and won the bronze with a blistering second run. Twenty-four years after his first appearance at a World Winter Games, Michael has two bronze medals to take home!

Ella took out the Gold by a significant margin of 9 seconds to the second place getter.   She is without a doubt NZ's most accomplished female skier.

This evening we will attend our final medal ceremony and return to our accommodation for a late dinner.  

Followed by a fashion parade with the Australian and Great Britain teams as a thank you to our hosts at the Appart Hotel Bliem in Schladming as they have been wonderful.

Tomorrow will be a huge day with the Healthy Athletes Programme and Closing Ceremony.


Thursday 23 March 2017

Hello again from Schladming

Today we had three athletes on the race track for the Slalom race.

Michael, Ella and Jason are our most experienced ski racers and it showed today in spring conditions.

Michael tripped over a small mountain of slushy snow, he picked himself up and rounded the gate to avoid a DQ, he comleted the run and qualified for the finals tomorrow.

Michael had an impressive fan club to witness the great recovery.   The Delegation Assistant Liaison for the New Zealand World Winter Games team from 24 years ago is a teacher who brought her class to meet Michael.

Ella and Jason have also qualified for their Slalom finals tomorrow.

The snowboard athletes received their medals this morning.   All the remaining members of Team NZ were in the enthusiastic crowd

This evening we will be back at the medal ceremony area to celebrate our advanced skiiers achievements in yesterdays GS event.

Our time in Austria is drawing to a close with just one more day on the snow.

Friday will be a big day out   ......  bus at 0700 to schladming, then two hours on another bus to Graz for the Healthy Athletes Programme then onto the Closing Ceremony followed by another 2 hour bus ride back to our accomodation!

Very pleased that the whole team get to do Healthy Athletes.


Wednesday 22 March 2017

Another fabulous day for team New Zealand – with personal best performances all around! 10 of our athletes have now completed their racing competition at the World Winter Games, and tomorrow Michael, Ella and Jason will compete in the divisioning of the Slalom Event.

The medal tally is impressive, as is the commitment and courage shown by each and every team member.
Today’s race is the Giant Slalom which requires two clean runs to produce the fastest combined time.

Right now, I am at the medal presentations for today’s racing and the athletes are currently being marshalled by volunteers until their moment in the spotlight arrives.
The large crowd is currently being entertained and the atmosphere here is electric!

Rachel Oemcke fell today on the course and could not get her ski back on in time to complete the race. Rachel showed great bravery and determination in the attempt to get that ski back on!
Ben Blanche had a slower first run but made up a huge 14 seconds on his second run to come out in 7th place with absolute style.

See the website for the full results.


Tuesday 21st March 2017

Spring and summer weather has come back to Schladming! We had a beautiful spring morning followed by a warm and enjoyable summer afternoon – lucky us!

Not a great afternoon for racing however with these weather conditions, as the snow is melting quickly! However, the team are wearing t-shirts out on the snow as it is warm enough, so that is a positive.

Divisioning for the giant slalom went well, with all team members competing and performing well. All team members delivered nice clean runs!

Tomorrow we race in finals for medals in the giant slalom. Behind the scenes, the coaches are busy waxing skis and boards and attending meetings – very busy!

I am putting the pressure on and expect personal best performances from each and every team member tomorrow.
Well done to our snowboarders, who competed in their final today for Super G – all coming away with great results!


Monday 20th March 2017

Emotions run high on race day as we had plenty of tears of joy, and tears of disappointment.

As our first day of races draw to a close, we are reflecting on the success of a team full of talented, dedicated and passionate athletes.

Some have medals, some have ribbons, but the most important thing is to celebrate the courageous personal best performances from every athlete.
Check out our photos on Facebook.

A huge crowd gathered in Schladming Town Square to see the Medal Presentation Ceremonies. A very good day for both our skiers and our snowboarders, with some now tired team members!
Tomorrow we start with divisioning for the next competition – the Giant Slalom.


Sunday 19th March 2017

Hi from Schladming!

It is raining today, but that didn’t stop team New Zealand from having a great day on the race track. Ben, Chris, Cameron, Nathan, Rebecca and Rachel all completed their divisioning runs in style.

Nathan did more than he required on his first run and he managed to include two 360° pirouette turns into his ski race! In the second run he was impeded by a slower skier on the course, so was granted a rerun. On his third run, at the end of the competition, the race course was very cut up and the spring snow was melting. Despite Nathan losing a ski half way down the course, he completed the last seven gates on ONE SKI, which is absolutely remarkable!

I had stressed to all team members that Team New Zealand will not have any disqualifications, and Nathan showed great courage to go around every gate and cross the finish line to appreciative loud cheers from the crowd. I went to watch the reply over and it was a magical moment that only comes along every four years.

We are now getting ready and prepared for the Opening Ceremony. We have selected Ella Sharples for the special honour of carrying the Games Torch to the stage on behalf of Team New Zealand!


Friday 17th March 2017

Another perfect day in paradise…
It feels great to be back on the snow after two days of Host Town Programme Shenanigans. The mountain has treated us well with blue skies and great spring skiing conditions. Most of the team are skiing with two layers and leaving their ski jackets at the accommodation.

Today, a few hours of final coaching sessions were put to good use in each of our skiing buddy groups. Everyone came home at the end of today with a great after a great day’s skiing and boarding. One crew came back home to base by a taxi after taking a wrong turn and ending up 40km from our intended destination!

This evening we have our fist HOD meeting and head coach meetings with the other delegations. Attitude TV has arrived with their cameras, ready to film the action! Tomorrow we get to inspect the race course. Team New Zealand is primed and ready!

Regards, BB

Thursday 16th March 2017

Hello again from Austria!
Today we joined with other countries in the Host Town Programme. We were joined by the following: Serbia, Kazakhstan, Norway, Oman, and Germany

The bus ride to Rittisberg was followed by a warming welcome dance as the weather was a little cooler today!
Each country went around several stations to play various games and activities. Some of the photos attached will tell the story!

The team all had a lot of fun, and competing in all different kinds of challenges was a light-hearted way to get the spirit and competition flowing before the games begin.
We finished with a horse-drawn carriage ride which everyone enjoyed. It was another real highlight of the trip so far (see photos). The carriage has a hydraulic system to raise and lower the wheels whether you are travelling on snow or on gravel! The Friesian pair that pulled our carriage were magnificent brothers.

Tonight, Team New Zealand will be busting our best moves on the dance floor at the welcome party, everyone is buzzing with excitement!


Wednesday 15th March 2017

The 4km shift from the Sporthotel Royer to the Apparthotel Bliem went very smoothly. Team New Zealand have learned the ropes and processes and the logistics are working well.

We are now sharing our new accommodation for the Host Town Programme with the Australian and British Teams. After settling into the hotel, we went on a school visit and taught some of the local children how to do a haka.

The afternoon was much enjoyed by the school children and team NZ. We had time for an hour of ‘retail therapy’ before returning to our base camp. This evening we are going on a torch walk before calling it another big day!
Thomas Loftus won the Vest of Spirit for being a great team member.
Tomorrow we will continue in the Host Town Programme.

As my father used to say, “All our troubles are small ones!”

Cheers for now, BB

Monday 13th March 2017

Ski racing at Rittisberg was fantastic in every way. All athletes stepped up and improved with each run.

The race track was spot on. We then had a nice lunch in the sun and managed to get a few more runs on the snow in the afternoon.

We took a 20 minute picturesque bus ride each way to and from the skiing slopes.

Tonight Kevin Gilbert is going to conduct a short presentation to the coaching regarding caring for the athletes, then we will follow with dinner and another haka practice!

No issues today.

Tomorrow we are heading up to the top of the Glacier at 2700m for some practice!

Regards BB

Sunday 12th March 2017

Bluebird day on the snow.

Very busy start with uncomfortable pushy queues but everyone coped well

Great day building confidence on the snow.

The team then went for a swim to relax and wind down to prevent sore muscles. We are going for dinner now and then will follow with some haka practice this evening.

No issues again.

Cheers BB

Saturday 11th March 2017

Hi from Austria

Team NZ had a great first day getting acclimated. We purchased skis for Karen and Thomas, and Rebecca and Rachel have hired helmets for our training camp.

The rest of the team had a walk around the Schladming. We saw the Opening Ceremony venue!

Back at the hotel during the afternoon, we had a gym session played 9 pin bowls and went swimming. The hotel is great.

We have lift passes and have made contact with the race training venue which is now booked for Sunday morning.

We purchased some batteries for our radios, some laundry powder and snack bars for tomorrow’s day on the snow!

No issues!

Great start to our Austrian adventures

Regards BB

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