Adrenaline pauses as extreme athletes gather
GRANT BRYANT IN QUEENSTOWN
Red Bull elite Kiwi athletes who usually compete in the most high-adrenaline sports all over the world have gathered in Queenstown for the company's annual summit.
Extreme athletes, ranging from 2012 X-Fighters freestyle motocross world champion Levi Sherwood, to whitewater kayaker Ben Brown and Queenstown's own wing-suit flyer and BASE jumping daredevil Chuck Berry, used the resort's Hilton Hotel as their base for the two and a half days.
Red Bull New Zealand communications manager John Forder said taking some time to concentrate on the mental side of the athletes' careers was vital, especially given their extremely busy training and competition schedules.
"The summit is all about bringing our athletes together so they can be a family and learn from each other as well.
"They are all heading in the same direction and competing at the same elite level, so switching off from their respective sports for a couple of days, and upskilling so they can push each other and themselves further is a key for motivation."
Having some bonding time was also important for the high-calibre solo athletes, who often travelled alone.
Queenstown was an important location for the summit because it allowed athletes to hunker down in the beautifully scenic Hilton Hotel, but still be close to Queenstown's vibrancy without the distractions of a big city, Mr Forder said.
"It's all about focus. Half of any competition is won in the mental battle and if our athletes aren't switched on mentally they're not reaching their peak performance level, and having this period of team building exercises and motivation is vital for that."
During the summit, team building and motivational exercises were carried out by former Auckland Warriors captain and NRL star Steve Price, as well as seminars by leading social media experts. Activities included golf, jetboating, helicopter rides, knife throwing and shooting and trampolining.
The summit will end at noon today, when the athletes will again disburse to commitments in far-flung corners of the globe.
- The Southland Times