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Countdown to the Winter Olympic Games

Media Release
Countdown to the Winter Olympic Games

Wanaka, New Zealand (4 February 2013) - Thirty degree temperatures aside, the Wanaka-based staff of Snow Sports New Zealand were happy to don winter clothes and head to the lakefront for a photo opportunity last week. The reason for the unseasonal attire was a celebration of the one year countdown to the Winter Olympic Games.

Thursday 7 February marks one year to the day until the opening of the XXII Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia. The Games will run from 7 to 23 February 2014.

Key information:
• The qualifying period for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games runs from July 2012 to January 2014.
• There are currently 30 New Zealanders chasing Olympic spots across the snow sports disciplines of freeski and snowboard halfpipe, freeski and snowboard slopestyle, alpine ski racing, cross country skiing and the ice sports disciplines of skeleton racing and long track speed skating.
• Athletes must meet the qualifying criteria of both the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the New Zealand Olympic Committee.
• Freeski Halfpipe and Freeski Slopestyle and Snowboard Slopestyle will appear on the Winter Olympic schedule for the first time in 2014.
• The inclusion of the new disciplines is significant for New Zealand since our best medal prospects lay here (Names to watch over the next 12 months include skiers Jossi Wells, Byron Wells and Rose Battersby and snowboarders Rebecca Sinclair and Shelly Gotlieb).
• The New Zealand ‘Park and Pipe’ athletes (freeski and snowboard) will be competing at an Olympic test event in Sochi, Russia from 7th – 18th February 2013.
• The test event is also a World Cup event so not only will it enable the athletes to collect qualifying points but equally importantly it will allow them to take a valuable first look at the Olympic courses and facilities.
• A Paralympic test event will follow in March signalling one year to go until the start of the 2014 Winter Paralympic Games.

About Snow Sports New Zealand
Snow Sports NZ represents the interests of snow sports nationally and internationally, including the development and implementation of pathways in five snow sports (adaptive, alpine, cross country, freeski and snowboard) and event hosting. Snow Sport NZ’s mission is to lead and support the growth and success of competitive snow sports in New Zealand.
The Winter Performance Programme is the high performance arm of Snow Sports NZ. The intent of the Winter Performance Programme is to increase the capability of New Zealand’s winter Olympic and Paralympic athletes with the ultimate aim of winning on the world stage.
Snow Sports NZ Chief Executive Marty Toomey, and staff, manage the operations of Snow Sports NZ and its active sports.

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