All four Wells broth­ers are aim­ing for the 2018 Olympics

Central Otago Mirror - - FRONT PAGE -

The fresh-faced freeskier BeauJames Wells has ar­rived back in Wanaka af­ter fin­ish­ing the most suc­cess­ful sea­son of his so far short ca­reer.

Fin­ish­ing sixth in the freeski half-pipe event at the 2014 Sochi Win­ter Olympic Games was the proud­est mo­ment of the year, the 18-year-old said.

Af­ter the games he went on to win the World Ju­nior Freeski Half Pipe Cham­pi­onships in Italy and earn the sec­ond place world rank­ing over­all in the As­so­ci­a­tion of Freeskiing Pro­fes­sion­als.

This sea­son’s train­ing at his favourite stomp­ing ground at Cardrona Alpine Re­sort will con­cen­trate on strength­en­ing his both way dou­ble cork on half pipe and jumps and com­fort­ably land­ing a triple corks.

‘‘It’s def­i­nitely my favourite (ski re­sort),’’ Wells said.

How­ever, there would be no slow­ing down for him or his fam­ily as they were de­ter­mined to be­come the first in his­tory to have four mem­bers qual­ify for the Win­ter Olympics in Korea in 2018.

Older brother Jossi, who ar­rives back from the United States in Au­gust, fin­ished fourth

in the Olympic half­pipe and sec­ond old­est By­ron had to pull out due to in­jury. All three were work­ing to­ward the Olympics and hoped youngest brother Jack­son would join them.

In the short term it was hoped they could clean sweep the podium at the freeski half­pipe event New Zealand Open in Au­gust.

Beau-James said a key in­gre­di­ent to the fam­ily’s suc­cess was hav­ing their fa­ther Bruce as their coach.

‘‘I wouldn’t want any­one else as my coach. The five of us to­gether is the best coach­ing, learn­ing en­vi­ron­ment to be around,’’ he said.

The ri­valry be­tween the broth­ers was strong, so they pushed each other.

How­ever, ‘‘if you don’t do well, you know some­one else (an­other brother) has,’’ he said.

Beau-James said be­ing thrown into the spot­light dur­ing the Olympics was un­ex­pected but he did not let it af­fect his per­for­mance.

Nor did com­ments by a sports writer say­ing ‘‘it’s like watch­ing Ki­wis on an ex­pen­sive ski hol­i­day’’.

‘‘She was just a bit un­e­d­u­cated,’’ BeauJames said. ‘‘For us as a fam­ily we didn’t take much no­tice . . . We all ride the best when we are hav­ing a good time,’’ he said.

Win­ter Games New Zealand sit skier sil­ver medal­list Corey Peters, who won a medal in the Gi­ant Slalom event, said this sea­son for him would in­volve test­ing new shocks on his sit ski to im­prove his

New Zealand sit skier Corey Peters holds the sil­ver medal he won in the 2014 Sochi Par­a­lympic Win­ter Games in the Gi­ant Slalom event. Peters has re­turned to Wanaka is amped to start train­ing. race per­for­mances.

The shock un­der the seat was ‘‘crit­i­cal for a ski skier. It’s like a knee,’’ he said.

Peters only picked up the sport in 2011 af­ter he bought sit ski equip­ment at an expo with­out at­tempt­ing to try it out.

In Septem­ber 2009 Peters was in­volved in a mo­tor­bike crash at a com­pe­ti­tion, badly dam­ag­ing his ver­te­brae and crush­ing the spinal cord by 80 per cent, re­sult­ing in paral­y­sis.

‘‘Con­sid­er­ing I’ve winged it, I’ve done pretty well,’’ he said.

The next 12 months will be used to build up to the games in 2018.

There were no com­pe­ti­tions in New Zealand this sea­son for Peters and he would re­turn to in­ter­na­tional com­pe­ti­tions in De­cem­ber with the pin­na­cle event, the World Cham­pi­onships, be­ing held early next year.

Go­ing into the Win­ter Olympics with no ex­pec­ta­tions hang­ing over his head helped with his per­for­mance.

Six months out from the event ev­ery­thing was ‘‘start­ing to click. I knew in­side my­self I had the speed and abil­ity,’’ he said.

He will be chas­ing more medals in fu­ture.

‘‘We’ll go for a dif­fer­ent colour. Go for gold,’’ Peters said.

Photo: CHE BAKER/ FAIR­FAX NZ

Back in Black: Wanaka’s own freeskiing sen­sa­tion BeauJames Wells tak­ing a break at home be­fore moun­tain train­ing kicks off next month.

Sil­ver suc­cess:

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