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  • Writer's pictureKatie Ormerod

How to qualify for the Olympics

One question I get asked frequently is how do I qualify for the Olympic Games? With the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics now less than 10 months away, the qualification process is already well under way and started in January this year.

Qualifying criteria’s differ from sport to sport and in Snowboarding Big Air and Slopestyle, there will be a max total of 30 women and 30 men competing in Beijing – The first time we’ve seen gender equality at the Games, as usually there are 40 men and only 30 women competing, which is a positive step in the right direction for equality in sport. The overall process to qualify is somewhat complicated, but to try and put it simply, all World Cups/ World Championships in both Big Air and Slopestyle from the 2020-2022 seasons count towards going to the Olympics. This is because each ranked place at World Cups come with FIS points (FIS being the organisation who run the events) and the more points you have, the higher up the world ranking list you will be. Usually, 1st place comes with 1000 points and they reduce as the rankings go down the list. This means that the more successful you are in World Cups, the bigger the chance of staying in the top 30 in the world rankings and qualifying for the Olympics.

As well as this, each country has 1 nation spot at World Cups, which enables at least 1 athlete to compete. In order to actually compete at a World Cup however, the athlete must have enough points, which they can accumulate by being successful at lesser ranked international competitions such as Europa Cups. It may seem quite confusing but having gone through this qualifying process 3 times now, I have gotten quite used to this ever-changing system. On top of this, GB Snowsport have their own criteria in order to actually compete at the Olympics, which is to get 2 World Cup results in the top 40% of the field and by doing this and also remaining in the top 30 in the world rankings, then the athlete can officially qualify for the Games. This is also the same for Big Air and Slopestyle freestyle Skiers. I am now in a really comfortable position where I have already achieved 2 top 40% results and am in the top half of the world rankings.

The 2020/21 season has just ended and plans and preparations for the 2021/22 World Cup and Olympic season are well under way. I am extremely excited for Beijing and feeling very confident after having a successful competition and training year.

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