Young Kiwi eyes Olympics chance
HAWKE'S BAY REPORTER
While her friends are sitting their school exams, 16-year-old Piera Hudson is racing against women twice her age as she bids for a place at the next Winter Olympics.
Piera, from Hawke's Bay, was skiing before she could read, and competed in her first international race at 9.
At just 14 she left home to attend an academy for elite ski racers in Vermont, in the northeastern United States, where she crammed her days with skiing, schoolwork and gym training.
The gruelling schedule has paid off, as she is now ranked second in the world for her age in the Federation of International Ski Racing standings for the Super G slalom, and 15th for the giant slalom.
She was enjoying a relaxing week at home in Waimarama with her parents when she spoke to The Dominion Post. She had seen her parents just twice in the past two years.
Next week she'll be perfecting her technique and pushing for faster runs at the Cardrona High Performance Centre. Piera has been clocked at 116kmh during a Super G race.
The driven 16-year-old is passionate about making it to the top. Not even the break-of-dawn starts can put her off.
"Obviously you have a passion for it, so you want to get up out of bed," she says.
In summer she'll fly to Austria, where she will base herself for the next European circuit.
The next two years will be a slog. She is aiming for a top 200 world ranking to qualify for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics in Russia.
If she gets there, she will mark her 18th birthday by taking part in the opening ceremony.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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