British champion snowboarder, Katie Ormerod, has hailed the incredible impact Hipperholme Grammar School has had on her medal-winning career as she sets her sights on 2018 Winter Olympics success.
The talented teenage athlete from Brighouse has landed some stunning accolades so far – including clinching her first World Cup gold and racing towards bronze at the X Games.
As the GB ace prepares for more successes ahead of the new season and next year’s Olympics, the 19-year-old took time out of her busy schedule to recognise the next generation of sporting aces at Hipperholme Grammar School’s annual Sports Awards.
“It was awesome to be invited back to be a guest speaker at my former school for the Sports Awards,” said a proud Katie, who has been skiing since the age of three.
“I used to go to the awards myself when I was a pupil and we had national gymnasts and other representative athletes as guest speakers, so to follow in their footsteps was really cool.
“Hipperholme Grammar School’s staff were so supportive when I was there. I was allowed to travel abroad to compete or train. I took work with me and the school supported me throughout. I even remember doing my mock GCSEs in America, which was difficult, but so worth it in the end.
“I can’t thank them enough for how much they’ve helped my snowboarding career. To be asked to return to the school where I had so many good memories was an absolute privilege.”
Jackie Griffiths, headteacher of Hipperholme Grammar School, added: “It was an absolute delight to welcome Katie back to school. We have followed her snowboarding progress with avid admiration. Her skill, determination and enthusiasm is inspirational and she is an amazing role model for all of our pupils.”
It has been an unforgettable season for Katie – from the highs of five podium finishes to the devastating low of breaking her back in March following a heavy crash during training.
A gruelling regime of rehabilitation followed before courageous Katie was back on the snow just six weeks later having made a remarkable recovery.
And now the sports star is preparing for her biggest competition yet – the 2018 Winter Olympics.
“Having doctors telling me I’d broken my back was really scary. I didn’t quite know what to expect,” said Katie.
“But with a great team around me, my recovery went really well and I was able to return to the snow without surgery, so I was quite lucky. I was back in Switzerland, fully recovered and able to complete my end of season training with no worries so I feel a lot stronger now.
“I’m just going to keep training really hard and hopefully I can land the best run when I’m there and get a medal.
“The dream is to get a Winter Olympics medal. Preferably gold.”
Katie, the first female snowboarder to land a double cork 1080 manoeuvre, has rejoined her GB Park and Pipe team-mates and is in New Zealand in August for three months of training and the season’s curtain-raiser.
Coming from a keen-snowboarding family, Katie spent hours perfecting her athletic talent at Halifax Dry Slope. Since getting her first snowboard as a Christmas present at the age of five, she has never looked back.
“I love being on the snow. I remember going on a family holiday in Austria and I just absolutely loved being in the mountains. I completely fell in love with snowboarding,” she said.
Katie finished second overall in this season’s standings following three World Cup podiums in Big Air, a silver medal at the Innsbruck Air and Style and her X Games bronze success.
“I’ve nearly completed my competition bucket list. I’ve got medals from the X Games and World Cup, now I just need that Olympics medal,” said Katie, speaking from Halifax Dry Slope.
“I’m going to make sure I’m in the best possible shape to achieve that too. I’m completely focused on bringing a medal back to Great Britain and Brighouse.”