What it's like being a professional Snowboarder during a pandemic
2020 was a difficult year for many of us and with just under a year to go until the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games, the world still finds itself in the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic.
As a professional Snowboarder, life goes on and the Olympics is still at the forefront of my mind, with the Olympic qualifiers being my main priority this season and next season, in order to accumulate enough points to qualify for Beijing. As I’m a Snowsports athlete, travelling is a big part of the job as I need to be able to train and compete in the mountains abroad. Normally this would be very straight forward but as things have been getting progressively worse regarding Covid-19, it is definitely not the easiest anymore. Regular Covid tests have become the norm and cancelled flights, crazy amounts of paperwork and daily health questionnaires have become a big part of my life. Like anything, it could be much worse, and I feel very lucky that I am able to Snowboard at all, with the current climate as it is and I’m very happy that the World Cups have been able to go ahead, so that myself and the other Snowboarders worldwide are able to partake in the Olympic qualifying process.
Snowboarding has always been a social sport, but this season every athlete has had to get used to the ‘new normal’ by staying within nation bubbles and not mixing with anyone else – much like the current situation in the UK. Masks have to be worn everywhere, including on the mountain and proof of multiple negative Covid tests have to be shown in order to compete at the events. Unlike every other year, no spectators are allowed at the competitions and the event organisers have been very strict with the regulations, which is great as it enables everybody to feel safe when training and competing, but most importantly means that the event can actually take place.
As well as this, anti-doping is still going ahead, which although may not be the most comfortable of procedures, is ultimately great for everybody, as they are making sure that even though we’re in the middle of a pandemic, all sport is clean and fair. All of this is very reassuring for myself and other sportspeople as it is looking very promising that the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics will be a great and most importantly, safe event. I am extremely excited and can’t wait for normality to return so that we can all enjoy some fun and safe sport.