4 March 2018

Owen Pick: "I don’t snowboard for the medals, I snowboard because I love it"

If snowboarding hadn’t been on TV while lying in his hospital bed, Owen Pick wouldn’t be able to call himself a Paralympian.

Now - just a few years after watching the sport for the first time - he is now on the cusp of history.

Never before has a ParalympicsGB snowboard team taken to the slopes at a Winter Paralympic Games but this week will see all that change in PyeongChang with Pick at the forefront.

A former soldier, the 26-year-old was involved in an explosion in Afghanistan, deciding to have his leg amputated below the knee 18 months later.

It was while in hospital where the vision of snowboarding literally first came to him.

A long road: Owen Pick in Afghanistan in 2010


“It feels amazing, to go from where I started five years ago when I was just snowboarding around, to now being selected on the team is a pretty cool feeling,” he said.

“Nothing like this was ever really on my mind if I’m honest, for me I always just loved snowboarding and I started doing a few competitions, from there it has got us to where we are today.

“It’s really cool, to be part of the first British snowboard team to go to a Winter Paralympics makes that even cooler, you’re representing your country but also being the first guys to be able to do something and that’s a big thing.

“I never really knew what it was until a charity called Blesma sent me on a trip to Colorado and I’ve never stopped snowboarding since.

“That was the very first time I had seen the sport. Before that I was in school, then into army cadets, then the army, so it wasn’t until I got injured that I knew what snowboarding involved.


Perhaps it’s lucky another sport wasn’t on TV.

Owen Pick

Duck to water

Taking to the sport like a duck to water, Pick very quickly found success, as well as enjoyment, from the sport – despite the lack of snow in Great Britain.

That came in the shape of a superb silver at the World Championships, just 0.5 seconds off gold in the men’s banked slalom SB-LL2 category in Big White, Canada, this time last year.

Two more World Cup medals quickly followed, in Spain, but Pick knows that if gold is to come anywhere, PyeongChang is a good a place as any.

But make no mistake, this Cambridge snowboarder is going to South Korea for far more than the medals on offer.

Owen Pick: “I’m still in my beginning"

For the love

“I don’t go to PyeongChang thinking I’ve done it here, I’ll be able to do it there, because every race is different and you don’t know what’s going to happen,” he added.

“You can’t even begin to predict what will happen so I don’t, I’m just going to go there and board as much as I can before I get there to be in the best mental place that I can.

“I’m going to go and enjoy the experience, I don’t snowboard for the medals and the results, I snowboard because I love it and that’s what I want to do through my career.

“I’m only five years into it so I’m still in my beginning, a lot of these guys are 20 or so years into their careers but I just love every second of it.”

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