World Junior and U23 Nordic Championships 2021 – Vuokkati, Finland
This season has been an interesting one with numerous challenges on a weekly and sometimes daily basis. For the athletes this has meant they have not had the opportunity to race this season. This created a scenario where the biggest race of the season was up first, the world junior championships.
However, a small team of 3 athletes have been able to train in Lillehammer, Norway since November with the coaching support of Snowsport Scotland and GB Snowsport. All 3 athletes; Hamish Wolfe, James Slimon and Gabriel Gledhill were selected by GB Snowsports to represent Great Britain at the 2021 World junior championships in Vuokatti, Finland.
We have to say Vuokatti did an extraordinary job organising the championships in the circumstances and in such short notice! They had 10 weeks to make it happen; from the border requirements that kept changing, testing (we had PCR results in under 18hrs), live streaming, TV production and social media, everything went smoothly. It shows what you can do with the right people and right sponsors.
Yes, it was different with virtual team captain meetings, team bubbles,separated dining, no opening/closing ceremony for athletes and no spectators. The content on Instagram from @POWFinland was fantastic and highlights the power of a partner with an important message to a broad audience, and the influence it can have.
All 3 athletes performed above their rankings and created new personal bests at this level. You can’t ask for much more than that! These are some of the best results at World juniors for over 5 years which is very exciting for the future of the sport. Hopefully we can build on this and have a bigger and stronger team for the 2022 championships.
Photo Credit: @tomimakipaa1 and @vuokattisport