Belfast Telegraph

Snowboarder Aimee Fuller: Sochi, RunHer... and that famous TV outburst

BY JOANNE SWEENEY

Aimee Fuller made a big statement at the Sochi Winter Olympics, on and off the slopes.

The diminutive North Down-based snowboarder had one aim heading to Russia days ago – to go big or go home.

And the fearless blonde certainly showed those nerves of steel as she took on 35m jumps in a history-making event for women snowboarders at the Games.

She also batted away criticism of a noteworthy appearance she made in a BBC commentary box during the Games, which resulted in the broadcaster getting hundreds of complaints.

Aimee, a rising star of Team GB, was not placed during her slopestyle event but she did land a double backflip for the first time.

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph as she arrived home in Northern Ireland, the sportswoman said the Games were a fantastic experience.

"For a first Olympics, it couldn't have been a better experience. It's been just great and now everyone knows what I've got in the tank for four years time," said the 22-year-old speaking just after a promotional shoot for the Belfast Telegraph's RunHer coastal running event, for which she is an ambassador.

Cooler x Brits On Board: Aimee Fuller On The Olympics a Snowboarding video by Neon_Stash

"It just didn't go as smooth as I wanted it to go, but the statement was made and well received.

"I'm pleased with my ride, I've no regrets."

Neither is she apologetic for her enthusiastic commentary watching the British team's stalwart snowboarder Jenny Jones getting a bronze medal for her much safer ride.

She and BBC commentators Ed Leigh and Tim Warwood got carried away with their partisan reporting, prompting 303 viewer complaints.

"She (Jones) is my best friend, my buddy. There was no way that I was going to watch her win a medal and not celebrate," said Aimee. "Jones is just Jones, she has shown how long the career you can have if you look after your body and train well, she's 33.

"I could potentially go to three Olympics, if that's what I want to do," added Aimee, who said that she was still being inundated with Twitter messages of support from viewers who loved the commentary.

"The support that I've got has been absolutely amazing, I'm still really stoked," she enthused, speaking the universal language of snowboarders.

The former Sullivan Upper School pupil was home at her parents' house in Bangor for the first time in 10 weeks, having missed Christmas due to her competitions and training.

The professional snowboarder has only been competing in the slopestyle event for two years, but her youth hides a detailed sporting history – skiing from the age of two, riding motorcross from the age of six, a gymnast for two years at aged 10 along with basketball, football and any other sport that she could fit in.

"I just love being outside," said Aimee, who added that qualifying for the GB team was "intense pressure".

"I really only had two chances out of six to qualify for the Olympics. The pressure was unreal that I was actually quite relaxed about being there."

Although disappointed that she didn't land her double backflip clean in order to gather up speed for the final job, Aimee believes that she has helped put this snowboarding sport on the map.

"My ride was well recognised within snowboarding," she said.

"The fact that we are riding the same course as the boys and that we are doing the jumps as the boys, it has shown the progression of the sport and that makes me really happy."

Aimee now is working to perfect another new jump that's sure to maintain her as one to watch in women's snowboarding of the future.

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