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Flying The Flag at The Youth Winter Olympic Games Angeline Smit Believe it or not, Rachel Elizabeth Olivier is South Africa’s only participant at the Youth Winter Olympics in Norway from the 12-21 February2016. At the age of 17, the dream of a 5 year old has finally come true. Growing up in Bloemfontein, a highly unlikely place to find a skiing legend, she joined the Ikhephu Ski Pups at the age of 5 but only really became a serious athlete after meeting Alex Heath, a former Winter Olympian. After seeing her potential, he has become her fulltime coach. She is a learner at Hoërskool Sentraal in Bloemfontein, but she is also a full-time student at the Winter Sports Academy at Tiffindell Resort. The academy has a group of 32 athletes who live at the resort for three months during mid-season. Training up to 5 hours a day,

has made juggling school and sport a nightmare. Holding onto dedication and passion has pulled her through. Olivier is currently the national and junior champion in slalom, however she has maintained these titles since she was 13.

“...not only for herself but as an ambassador for Alpine skiing in South Africa.” When she turned 16 last year, she registered for an International Ski Federation license and took part for the first time in an accredited race at Tiffindell. By December last year, she had already hit the slopes in Italy and Austria. Slalom is her favourite event but she will also be displaying

her South African colours in the giant slalom. Slalom consists of a course around red and blue poles, called gates. The gates are extremely close together which means excellent skills are needed to navigate through the shorter successive turns as oppose to giant slalom. Here the gates are further apart lending themselves to longer faster turns. Rachel recalls that the dynamic and rhythm of the race is what got her hooked. At the official opening ceremony, she held the South African flag, not only for herself but as an ambassador for Alpine skiing in South Africa. Regardless of her placing, she has helped hundreds of avid skiers to realise that their dreams are indeed attainable. South Africa has never won a medal at a Winter Olympics, who knows, Rachel might be our first

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Profile for Avanti

Avanti, Term 1, 2016  

Hello to all our Avanti readers! You can look forward to our latest edition to be released at the end of June! Keep your finger on the puls...

Avanti, Term 1, 2016  

Hello to all our Avanti readers! You can look forward to our latest edition to be released at the end of June! Keep your finger on the puls...

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