Reuters

British ski jumping dream could be revived under new funding plan

British ski jumping dream could be revived under new funding plan
By Sportsbeat

23/09/2016 at 09:55

Nearly three decades after Eddie the Eagle flew in Calgary, British skiing chiefs have admitted their dream of a female ski jumper competing at the Olympics.

Following snowboarder Jenny Jones's historic bronze medal in Sochi, British Ski and Snowboard are looking ahead with renewed confidence, underlined by an ambitious ten-year performance plan.

Britain's Jenny Jones performs a jump during the women's snowboard slopestyle semi-finals at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics in Rosa Khutor, February 9, 2014 (Reuters)

Britain's Jenny Jones performs a jump during the women's snowboard slopestyle semi-finals at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics in Rosa Khutor, February 9, 2014 (Reuters)Reuters

And women's ski jumping - which made its debut at the 2014 Games - has become an likely target for success.

Sir John Ritblat, president of the national governing body, believes there are athletes from other sports with transferable skills - and doesn't even mind if they can't ski.

And there is some logic behind his argument, with just 40 competitors from 13 nations contesting the last women's ski jumping World Championships in Sweden.

Freestyle skiers and snowboarders - now firmly established among the world's best - are the only British snow sport athletes currently eligible for all-important lottery funding.

And UK Sport's strict criteria targets means they are unlikely to fund a ski jumping programme - and certainly won't be swayed by the guaranteed headlines and profile it would bring.

But an initiative, backed by leading UK travel operators, could release new cash, with holidaymakers encouraged to contribute a British Snowsports Fund when they book their annual getaway to the slopes.

Sir John believes there could be a strong commercial appeal to a women's ski jumping programme while British Ski and Snowboard chairman Rory Tapner confirmed he's open to all suggestions for spending money raised, providing a strong business and performance case can be made.

Three-time national champion Cara Brown has established herself as Britain's women's leading alpine skier following the retirement of Chemmy Alcott.

But she won't be switching her focus from the downhill to the big hill just yet.

"I don't think I could do it," she said. "It sounds fun but I think I'd miss alpine skiing too much. I'm not sure the skills transfer, maybe only the stupidity skill."

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