Zoe Gillings-Brier: Snowboarder on hunt for 'future stars'

Zoe Gillings
Two-time Olympic snowboard-X athlete Zoe Gillings hopes new technologies will aid her bid for success come the 2014 Sochi Olympics

Winter Olympian Zoe Gillings-Brier has launched a snowboard programme to find the "next generation of winter sports stars" from the Isle of Man.

The island currently boasts five athletes competing in ski or snowboard cross at International level.

"Despite its size, the Isle of Man has a unique ability to produce hugely talented athletes across a range of sports," the four-time Olympian said.

The first intake will begin on 1 October in Austria.

Gillings-Brier said the initiative will allow young Manx people the opportunity to travel off island by themselves in a safe snowboarding environment with access to Olympic coaches.

Zoe Gillings-Brier
Gillings-Brier's daughter is already at home on the snow

She said: "I travelled to Canada when I was 16 to train and compete and I know first hand how daunting leaving home can be, not just for me but also my parents."

"This is a great opportunity to spend six months abroad in a supervised environment with a group of other snowboarders and gain some excellent experience.

"I'll be heading out to Austria with everyone else on the 1 October as I'm targeting my fifth Winter Olympics at Beijing 2022."

The 33-year-old became the first British snowboarder to compete at four Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang in February, reaching the quarter-finals.

She previously finished 15th at her first Games in 2006, aged 20, eighth in 2010 and ninth in Sochi four years ago.

Snowboarder
The Manx snowboarder is trying to find the next generation of snowboarders.

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