Lake Wanaka, 25 August 2011 – This week’s 100% Pure New Zealand Winter Games is playing a major role in the development of New Zealand’s Winter Olympic athletes in preparation for both January’s Winter Youth Olympic Games in Innsbruck and the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.
New Zealand Olympic Committee President, Mike Stanley, said the Games provided an opportunity for the New Zealand athletes to compete against the best in the world on their home turf and raised the competitive bar in winter snow sports.
“Events like Winter Games give our athletes the recognition they deserve. It’s also about the promotion of winter sports as a competitive sport and the more we have this type of event, the more competitive winter sports enter the New Zealand psyche. The amount of young people who are now competing in winter events is growing as a direct result of events like Winter Games and this is part of the strategy to raise the competitive bar in winter sports, particularly snow sports.”
Stanley went on to say with the addition of ski and snowboard slopestyle and the snowboard half pipe to the Olympic programme, the Winter Games NZ are even more important to Kiwi winter athletes.
“Winter Games NZ brings the world’s Olympic and World Champion athletes to New Zealand. This exposure is invaluable for our development squads as they prepare for the Youth Olympic Winter Games in Innsbruck next year and on to Sochi 2014 and PyeongChang 2018. Having these sports included is such an exciting opportunity for New Zealand with the athletes we have who are already established in those disciplines. It’s a unique first to be able to offer these sports in the Winter Games since the Olympic announcement and what better venue for them to take place in.
“We know a number of nations have used New Zealand as a training base for quite some time but to be able to offer a high standard competition every two years. The perception of the nations who come here has changed, New Zealand is no longer just a training venue but also a world-class competition venue. There’s a real opportunity to cement New Zealand as the preferred place for winter sports preparation and competition which has got to be of huge economic benefit to New Zealand and getting a winter of intense competition and training has to be good for our local athletes.”
Two of New Zealand's 2012 Winter Youth Olympic curlers are competing in the Winter Games curling competition. Eleanor Adviento and Kelsi Heath are playing for the NZ Junior Women's team against the best in the Asia-Pacific region.
100% Pure New Zealand Winter Games takes place from 12-28 August 2011 featuring 22 snow and ice sports over 38 events and involving 1,000 elite athletes from 50 nations. The 16-day long Games also include a full Downtown Sessions festival programme featuring films, live music and entertainment and rail jam extravaganzas in Queenstown, Lake Wanaka, Dunedin and Methven. The on-snow competition will take place at Coronet Peak, Cardrona Alpine Resort, Snow Park NZ, Snow Farm and Mt Hutt with the ice sports taking place at Naseby and Dunedin. For further information, visit www.wintergamesnz.com
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