Lake Wanaka (28 July 2012) - Skier Adam Hall was awarded Snow Sports NZ’s coveted Overall Athlete of the Year Award last night at Snow Sports NZ’s Awards Night at The Venue in Lake Wanaka.
Adam had his best year ever taking Gold in both Slalom and Super G at the World Cup in Winter Park, Colorado and in Slalom and Super Combined at the World Cup Finals. Now dominating in both technical and speed events Adam is in a great position to come home from his next Paralympic Winter Games with multiple medals.
Adam credited much of his amazing success over the past season to his new coach, Scott Olson (who took out this year’s Coach of the Year award) and to his support team. He acknowledged the successes of his adaptive teammates Carl Murphy (nominee for Adaptive Athlete of the Year and Snowboard Athlete of the Year) and Corey Peters (nominee for Emerging Talent), suggesting that Adaptive Snow Sports NZ “could easily feature one of its largest teams ever at the 2014 Paralympic Games in Sochi.” Adam said that, while his mother Gayle Hall is no longer with us, she is still a voice in his ear everyday pushing him towards success at the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Games.
Adam’s award was presented by long time supporter of Adaptive Snow Sports in New Zealand, Tony Hall whose late wife Gilly founded Disabled Snow Sports New Zealand. Adam said, “Without the work done by Gilly I wouldn’t be standing here today.”
The Overall Athlete is selected from finalists in each sport category. Finalists this year included:
Ski Racing’s Athlete of the Year - Ben Griffin
Ben is New Zealand’s National Champion in Super G, giant slalom and slalom. He placed second in GS and Super-G at the National Championships and is the lowest FIS points holder amongst kiwis in both disciplines. He is ranked 3rd overall in ANC.
Cross Country Athlete of the Year - Andy Pohl
Andy placed 18th in 15km skate and first in the CIS (Canadian Interuniversity Sport) Division a the Canadian National Championships. He was second overall in CIS Nordic skiing. He represented New Zealand at the U23 World Championships and placed 40th in Pursuit. He was winner of the Winter Games NZ winter triathlon.
Freeskiing Athlete of the Year - Sam Smoothy
Sam became the first ever to podium at three consecutive World Freeride Tour stops. He won the Chamonix stop and then went on to place second in Courmayeur and third in Roldal. He was ranked number one for almost the entire season and, had he not taken a fall in the finals, was in prime position to end his season ranked number one on the world tour. The fall landed him with a still very respectable fourth place ranking on the tour.
Snowboarding Athlete of the Year - Rebecca Sinclair
Rebecca started her Northern Hemisphere season with a fourth place finish at the TTR World Championships. She then went on to take 6th at the European X Games. She placed tenth at the prestigious US Open and ended her season with a win at the Rockstar Throwback Throwdown where she took first in Superpipe and second in Minipipe for the overall win.
The Emerging Talent of the Year award went to freeskiing’s Rose Battersby. Rose had a standout first season of international competition with several top ten finishes. She placed 9th in slopestyle at the Winter X Games and Euro X Games. She also took 9th in halpipe at the AFP World Championships in Whistler. She was on the podium at the AFP World Championships with a third place finish in Big Air. She ended her year fourth overall in the AFP rankings.
Adam Hall’s coach, Scott Olson, was the recipient of this year’s Coach of the Year Award. Scott became coach to Adam just one year ago. In one short year his coaching has made a significant impact on Adam’s results. Adam is now dominating in both speed and technical events. Scott has driven the use of technology and innovation to make sure that Adam has the tools he needs to succeed.
Like most sports, Snow Sports depends largely on volunteers. From its Board of Directors to sport committee members and on the ground event staff, the volunteers are critical. As such, every year an award is presented for Volunteer of the Year. This year the award went to Cross Country’s Peter Soundy.
Peter has been the key person in the local Nordic Sport series races and FIS races. He was instrumental in assembling a fully FIS compliant race timing system. He is chief of timing for the cross country FIS race series. He has also played a pivotal role within the Pisa Alpine Charitable Trust, preparing most of the funding applications for the purchase of the Snow Farm Land.
Other awards presented were:
2011 Men’s Masters Champion – Walter Unterberger
2011 Women’s Masters Champion – Alison Duder
2011 NZSIA/SBINZ Instructor of the Year – Rhys Jones
2011 Snowco Ski Areas Service Award – Ohau
2011 Snowco Small Ski Areas Service Award – Cheeseman
Check out photos from the night on our facebook page.
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