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Home   Medway   News   Article

Skiers and snowboarders hit the slopes as Lizzy Yarnold and Jenna Jones inspire the next generation of Olympic legends at Chatham Ski Centre

18 February 2014
by Jenni Horn

Alex Fitzpatrick at the Chatham Ski Centre

Chatham Ski Centre has been inundated with inquiries since the Games began in Sochi.

Andy Rushton, manager at the centre in Capstone Road, described the interest shown as "phenomenal".

He said Jenny Jones’ success in the slopestyle competition and Lizzy Yarnold's gold medal-winning display in the skeleton have sparked a particular interest.

Snowboarder Jones made history by winning a slopestyle bronze – Great Britain’s first medal on snow in the history of the Winter Games.

And Kent's very own Lizzy Yarnold clinched gold on Friday in the skeleton competition.

Katie Mackinnon, 14, tries her hand at a snow plough

Mr Rushton said: “I spent all day... answering emails and the phones have been really busy too.

“We are set and ready to cope with the extra interest in the sports.

“We held a Slide to Sochi open day last year and following on from this we are holding half-term taster sessions next week. We have had people of all ages getting in touch.

"One guy was 57 and wanted to learn to snowboard and we’ve had wives booking lessons for their husbands.

Lizzy Yarnold celebrates her Olympic gold. Pictures Getty Images

Lizzy Yarnold celebrates her Olympic gold. Pictures: Getty Images

"You can't put a price on the publicity the Olympics has generated.

"It's going to hopefully give an enormous boost to the centre."

Chatham Ski Centre holds a slopestyle event every year and some of those chasing medals in the Olympics, including Jamie Nicholls, Katie Summerhayes and James Woods, competed at the venue as teenagers.

"You can't put a price on the publicity the Olympics has generated. It's going to hopefully give an enormous boost to the centre" - Chatham Ski Centre manager Andy Rushton

One familiar face at the centre as a youngster was Charlotte Evans who will be competing in the Winter Paralympics as a guide for blind skier Kelly Gallagher.

Mr Rushton said: “Charlotte started coming to the centre with her sister Emily so she learnt to ski here and we all know her.

“It is fantastic to see her doing so well. We’ll all be cheering her on when they compete in a few weeks’ time.”

Meanwhile, Maidstone council said it is looking at how it can recognise Yarnold's achievement.

Cllr John A Wilson, cabinet member for community and leisure services, said: "We were delighted to see our own Lizzy Yarnold win her gold medal, and would like to pass on Maidstone's congratulations on this fantastic accomplishment.

"We want to recognise Lizzy's achievement and are looking at the most appropriate way. We're sure she has inspired a new generation of Maidstone athletes." 

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