Wells brothers lead NZ's new snow generation
New Zealand's new snow generation has arrived.
And although much of the immediate hype and attention will be on Wanaka freeskiing prodigy Jossi Wells, storylines resound throughout the 15-strong New Zealand team named for the Sochi Winter Olympics yesterday.
Ten of the team, which NZOC chief executive Kerryn Smith describes as "the start of a new era" for winter sport in New Zealand, will compete in the new Olympic disciplines of freeski halfpipe and slopestyle, and snowboard slopestyle - and 12 of the overall team are first-time Olympians.
Jossi will be joined at the Sochi Games, which start on February 8, by his younger brothers Byron and Beau-James, meaning three family members have been named in a New Zealand Olympic team, summer or winter, for the first time.
If the silver fern is seen on the Winter Olympics podium in Russia, chances are it will be worn by one of the 11-strong freeski and snowboarding contingent.
The eldest Wells brother, Jossi, who won an FIS World Cup event in slopestyle in Switzerland last week, is the biggest hope in both halfpipe and slopestyle, though his younger brothers have the skill and strong form on the world circuit to earn their way to the finals.
Wanaka skiers Lyndon Sheehan and Janina Kuzma will join the Wells boys in Sochi, in the men's and women's freeski halfpipe respectively.
New Zealand's contingent in the women's snowboard slopestyle offer perhaps the next big hope. Stefi Luxton, Rebecca ‘Possum' Torr, Shelly Gotlieb and Christy Prior will form four of the 24-strong field in Sochi, and Prior comes into the Games after a World Cup victory in Canada this week.