What’s been the most surreal moment of the last two weeks?
Making Puddle Pudding with (actor) Warwick Davies. Ha ha. I was like ‘Oh my
God, I’m cooking with the star of Willow!’ (Actor) Simon Pegg tweeted me!
That was the coolest thing. I got a lovely email from (2012 Olympic gold
medallist) Katherine Grainger, which made my day. Appearing on The Jonathan
Ross Show has been a highlight, of course. It’s just surprised me how happy
everyone is for me. People are literally coming up to me in the street.
How did you feel straight after winning the medal?
I’ve never had a feeling like that. And it is pride, it’s the only way to
describe it. I did feel so proud. Knowing everybody was supporting me. And
seeing my folks was also obviously really cool. I was so glad they were
there. They were so chuffed.
How was the party that night?
I crowd-surfed with my medal on! I thought ‘If you’re ever going to wear this
on a night out, it’s tonight’.
Tell me about the final. Were you scared at the top of the second run?
I wasn’t scared, no. Because by that stage a lot of the adrenaline had
already gone, which meant I could concentrate on my style more.
I said at the time that I couldn’t believe how focussed and relaxed you
looked. Were you aware of the magnitude of the moment?
If I’d have thought about that, I would have blown it. Ha ha. I mean, four or
five days before I turned off Twitter and Facebook because it was just too
distracting. So many people were messaging me to wish me good luck that it
was unnerving. I’ve never experienced it before. So I was like ‘Oooh. This
is quite a big deal to a lot of people.’ I turned if off because although it
was amazing it was messing with my head.
Jenny competes in the snowboard slopestyle semi-final at Sochi. Photo: Getty
How tactical was your second run? Switching to a frontside 720 instead of a
frontside 900, which I know you can do, was a huge decision. How much of a
discussion did you and Hamish (McKnight, Team GB snowboard coach) have about
My first run wasn’t perfect but I got a score on the board, even if I knew
that wasn’t going to leave me in the top three. So when it came to my second
run – and because I was one of the first girls to drop – I said to Hamish
‘Right. We’ve got a decision to make’. Stick with the 720 or go for the 900.
Because I’d practised frontside 9s in training. And I wanted to us to make
the decision together. I didn’t want one of us to come away thinking ‘Well,
I knew it was the wrong decision’.
I’d learned a lot from watching the boys the day before, which I’m so glad I
did, because you could see that people were getting marked down for just
putting a hand down, regardless of the difficulty of the tricks. So I
thought, ‘Well what are the chance of me doing a 900 without putting a hand
down?’ In another contest it would be different, but here you had to do it
perfectly, and we just thought I had much more a chance of landing the same
run, with the 720, more perfectly. So that’s the decision we made.
Well, it was the right decision then.
Ha. Once! This time I did!
So was making that decision all down to your experience?
Yeah, a bit. I tried to be aware of the judging and what other people were
doing. And to be aware of my ability in a contest situation and not expect
myself to do more than I can. Being realistic. Not just thinking like ‘Yeah
I can do 900s!’ I mean on a training day in Breckenridge park I can do 900s.
But this was different.
What was it like being in Sochi?
On the whole it was a really cool experience. When we turned up we were some
of the first people there because our event was so early. You know,
slopestyle is pretty chilled. That might be different in four years time but
this time round we were pretty chilled. So we did the pin-swapping thing…
What was that?
You get a bag of pins and everybody swaps them, it was really nice actually.
You swap them with other countries, so you end up gathering all these pins.
I just thought it was a really nice thing to do.
Who were you sharing with in the Team GB house?
Me and Aimee Fuller shared a room, which was great because we always do and
she’s hilarious. Rowan Cheshire and Katie Summerhayes shared a room. And
Chemmy (Alcott), who none of us really knew but who I really liked. She’s
quite a character.
Crowded by fans at the X Games in 2009, where she won gold. Photo: Getty
I think people were surprised by how much camaraderie there is between
Maybe it’s because of the type of person in girls’ slopestyle, but yeah it
genuinely is like that. You know, we travel a lot, so we always end up
buddying up together. It makes it more fun.
How did the environment that the people behind the scenes have created help?
The experience, knowledge and dedication of Lesley McKenna (Program Manager
for Team GB park and pipe) is a huge factor in how well this has gone. She’s
so intelligent and knowledgeable about snowboarding and what’s special about
it. She’s so articulate when she represents us. She’s been to several
Olympics herself so she knows how it works and she gave us advice on what to
look out for and what to be aware of. That was important.
Hamish was been brilliant too. He knows technically what I need to do to
improve things so I can ask him when I need that help. He judges perfectly
when to offer advice. You know I’m not someone who likes being told what to
do, so I come to him for advice when I need him and we make joint decisions.
He’s like that for the whole team. We all have so much respect for him.
Tell me about the concussion you suffered in October.
I over-rotated on a cab 5 while training and really wacked my head.
How did you keep focus when you injured yourself really seriously three
months before the Games?
You’re not going to dwell on this are you? I hate it when athletes go on
about stuff like this. But yeah, the last six months or so were much tougher
than I expected them to be. Usually your physio gives you a recovery plan.
Whereas this wasn’t like that at all. No-one gave me a timeframe. They just
told me to wait until the symptoms subsided and to rest and relax. Two
months before the Olympics! How can you not worry about it?
What were the symptoms?
It’s called Post-Concussion Syndrome. Concussion usually lasts about 10 days,
but with this syndrome they don’t know how long it’s going to last. And
that’s what was frightening. I have to thank a few people who really helped
me. I worked with Emma at the Injured Jockey Association, a vestibular
physio. And Phil Johnson, a sports psychologist, was a huge help as well.
That support helped me get back onto the snow. As soon as I started riding
again I was so relieved. And in the end, I’d had such a massive rest period
that I think it re-energised me. I think it helped ultimately, but at the
time it didn’t seem like that at all. It was just a horrible experience. My
boyfriend Alex was also such an amazing support.
Posing with her bronze medal, Team GB’s first medal on snow. Photo: Getty
How relieved do you now feel?
I feel huge relief. My goal was to reach the final, and I did wonder how I’d
feel if I didn’t achieve that.
So what’s the plan now? Are you going to keep snowboarding?
Of course I’m not going to stop. I don’t know how long I’ll keep going for.
Definitely the next two years.
Will you still compete?
Yeah. I’ll still do a few competitions. There are still things I want to
achieve. There’s so much to snowboarding, and I still have other goals.
Until I’ve achieved those I don’t want to close the book. Hopefully I can
get some support to achieve those things now.
I can’t stop anyway because I still haven’t had a Whitelines (top UK
snowboarding magazine) cover photo yet! I’m serious. Growing up in
snowboarding, that’s what we aspired to. I’d still like to be in a video as
well, not for any other reason than for myself really. Something that shows
all my tricks, so I can show the grandkids. “This is what your granny
used to do!”
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