Jasmin Taylor: Telemark skiing 'can be Olympic by 2022'

By Chris OsborneBBC East Sport
Jasmin Taylor

British champion Jasmin Taylor hopes telemark can become a Winter Olympic sport in time for the 2022 Games.

The GB Telemark Ski Team is and Taylor believes the overall standards are improving.

"Hopefully it'll be a taster in 2018 and, if successful, it could get full Olympic status in 2022," the 19-year-old from Ipswich told BBC East Sport.

"That would be the dream. I can see it developing within that time."

Alpine skiing, ski jumping, freestyle skiing, Nordic combined and cross country skiing are currently part of the schedule for Winter Olympics.

Telemark differs from alpine skiingexternal-link in that the boot is attached to the ski in a way that allows the heel to rise during turns.

This means the outside ski leads into turns, rather than the inside, in a motion known as the 'telemark turn'.

Competitions take place in enough countries for it to be recognised by the International Olympic Committee.

However, the sport needs more athletes from different nations to break into the elite rankings before the International Ski Federation (FIS) can consider making a formal application for Olympic recognition.

"Basically we have enough nations, we just need a couple more people from each nation to be ranked highly and then we'll have enough to become fully Olympic," said Taylor.

"We're so close to it, it's incredible. We will just have to put the bid forward and we hope we will get it.

"A few nations need to get involved and help push it, and obviously I'm trying to do my bit.

"It would improve cash prizes and then there would be a lot more competitors. There would be more television coverage. It will become more well known."

Telemark competitions consist of a giant slalom, a jump, a 360 degree-turn and a slightly uphill cross-country skiing section. There are three disciplines, one including a dual downhill sprint, where two athletes race alongside each other

"It's beautiful to watch, because you go with the motion of skiing as it's more fluid. Telemark is better for the body as you absorb all the pressure through the lunge," said Taylor.

"There are so many different elements which make it exciting to watch."

Taylor, who will defend her national title in Austria next month, trains at the Snow Centre in Hemel Hempstead during the summer, but is currently based with the Mont Blanc Team in the Chamonix valley in France.

Despite receiving no governing body funding, she is able to compete thanks to sponsorship and became the first Briton to win a world junior medal in telemark, finishing third in the dual sprint last year.

She hopes to take part in the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea, with telemark as a display sport, before competing fully four years later.

"If it happens the ultimate goal will be a gold medal," she added. "But I can't predict anything for this season, let alone then. But that's the dream. It would be incredible."