Team O’Neill rider Max Parrot (CAN) is coming into Sochi hot as hell after scoring double-gold at the US edition of Winter X Games in Aspen, Colorado. The French Canadian took top honors in the Big Air contest before bagging his second gold medal of the weekend in Slopestyle.
After that kind of winning performance, it will come as no surprise to learn that the 19-year-old has been selected by the powers that be to fly the Canadian flag when the world of winter sports rolls into Russia in less than a couple of weeks. And despite only just coming off the back of the biggest weekend in his insanely promising pro career, Parrot still has his eyes fixed firmly on the main prize at stake: “Sochi is what I have been working towards for the last 2 years. It really means a lot to me.”
Another Team O’Neill rider hitting a hot streak of form at just the right time is freeskier David Wise (USA). The 23-year-old made it three in a row when he skied his way to the top of the Halfpipe podium at Winter X Games. Clearly no stranger to high pressure situations, Wise be going all out to add to the stars and stripes’ medal count in Russia.
Riding under Putin’s ice-cold gaze (maybe), both Max and fellow Team O’Neill rider Seb Toutant will be among the firm favorites to land on the Slopestyle podium. “It feels awesome to go to Russia!” said Toutant, “I think our sport will be even better for it, and it’s definitely going to be a whole new challenge for me. Riding for your country should be a really good experience as well.”
And just when you thought it couldn’t get any better, O’Neill is very proud of a whole bunch of Team O’Neill riders from Switzerland who are also lined up to throw down for their country beneath the big old interlocking rings.
Nils Lauper and his wife Eveline Bhend-Lauper will carry the hopes of the alpine nation in Halpipe skiing, while compatriots Nadja Purschert and Verena Rohrer will be dropping into the pipe on their boards.
“It feels amazing!” said Nadja, “It’s been my goal, I’ve been dreaming about it for a while now and suddenly it’s reality. Everyone is talking about it all the time and now I know I’m gonna be there in person! I’m so happy to represent Switzerland and I’m really looking forward to snowboarding and giving it my all.”
In slopestyle, O’Neill team mates Lucien Koch (snowboard) and 16-year-old mega-talent Luca Schuler (ski) will both be gunning for glory on behalf of Switzerland.
And last but by no means least, O’Neill is equally proud of the qualification of Kiwi slopestyle skier Anna Willcox (NZ) to compete on the biggest winter sports stage.
Everybody at O’Neill wishes Team O’Neill the best of luck in Russia! Have fun and bring back some metal!