High-flyer Nicholls bids for Olympic glory

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Queensbury snowboarder Jamie Nicholls is determined to hit the heights as a member of the Great Britain Snowboarding team who compete in the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia next week.

The 20 year old qualified comfortably for the Games having impressed at the last World Cup event two weeks ago.

Now, after a whirlwind few days where he has been allocated his official Great Britain kit, the former Queensbury High School pupil cannot wait to get started.

“It all feels pretty crazy to be honest,” said Nicholls, who flies to London on Wednesday ready for the onward trip to the competition venue.

“After the last World Cup two weeks ago I had a feeling that I might have made the team.

“I had a good run and finished sixth which obviously put me in with a good chance.

“The top 30 men in the world qualify and I finished 15th, so it was quite comfortable really.”

Nicholls is a full-time snowboarder and has experienced many high profile tournaments. However, the Winter Olympics is the competition where everybody wants to be and be seen, and Nicholls is relishing the opportunity.

“I just want to go there and have fun and do the best I can,” he said. “It’s hard enough to get there in the first place so I need to make the most of it.

“It could be that it is the experience of a lifetime. Naturally, I will work hard to get to the next Games, but plenty of things could change between now and then.”

Nicholls is already an experienced hand on the slopes having joined Halifax Ski Centre at the age of seven. He then went on to hone his skills at Xscape in Castleford.

“We drove past Halifax Ski Centre and I remember I just wanted to have a go,” added Nicholls. “Once I did I got hooked. I wanted to do something different from football and cricket and this was certainly different.

“My younger sister Sophie also used to go and she is still involved but as a presenter with Red Bull TV.”

Although he is still very much at home on the slopes, Nicholls would not be averse to sampling life in front of the camera himself.

“I would love to have a go at presenting eventually,” he admitted. “We’re both pretty similar in that we’re a bit hyper and chatty so I think I have the qualities.”

To continue the family theme, cousin Katie Ormerod from Brighouse is also involved in the Great Britain set-up and just missed out on selection.

One thing is for sure and that is Nicholls will not be fazed by the opposition having competed against the world’s top performers several times in the past.

“We are all friends and I think that will make things easier,” said Nicholls. “It’s a really good scene on and off the slopes. Everybody gets on really well.

“I am just so looking forward to going now and getting the competition started.”

Nicholls starts his glory bid on February 6 where he will undertake three rails and three jumps with the judges looking for style, technical tricks and progression.

If he is successful then Nicholls will take part in the semi-finals and finals which take place on February 8.

Nicholls is also unperturbed by a number of negative reports coming out of Russia and insists his focus is firmly on the competition.

“It is going to be a good Olympics, a safe Olympics and that is all we can ask for,” he said. “To be honest I have kept my mind on the competition and that is what I have to concentrate on.

“My family would have loved to have been out there supporting me, but it would have cost a ridiculous amount of money.

“I don‘t know how much contact I would have had with them anyway, so it is probably best that they can watch me on televsion instead.”