Just two years after competing at the Winter Youth Olympic Games Lillehammer 2016, Australian snowboarder Emily Arthur found herself in the halfpipe final at PyeongChang 2018. Here, the 18-year-old gives us the inside story on her experiences…

Fuelling the Olympic dream
Competing at the Olympic Winter Games has always been the dream and after I did the Youth Olympic Games (YOG) in 2016, I just said, “I need to go to PyeongChang.”

Lillehammer 2016 was one of the greatest experiences I have ever had and it was a really big deal for me at the time. It was also great preparation for the Olympic Winter Games, and made coming to PyeongChang a little easier, as it is just like everything is on a bigger scale than it was at the YOG.

And it’s obviously not only me who feels like that – there are so many other athletes here who competed in the YOG too. It just goes to show how good a stepping-stone it can be and I think it really prepares you for the Games. It’s like a little trial run before the big show a couple of years later.

YOG reunion
We were watching the bobsleigh and the commentators on TV mentioned that one of the guys and competed in Lillehammer and I just thought, “This is insane; there are so many of us here.”

I was at the dining hall and there was a whole group of us together and we just said, “Hey look, it’s the Youth Olympic gang.” We were all agreeing that it’s such a good set up to go there and then come here, because we’re used to what the Games are like and it’s not completely new. When we were talking, we were remember some of the times we had together in Norway and we just said, “It’s insane – look at where we are now.”

Parallel journeys
I definitely made so many good friends in Lillehammer, although I’ve known [US snowboarder] Chloe Kim since we were both nine years old. She obviously won gold in Lillehammer and then again in PyeongChang, and it’s insane how good she is. She’s been working so hard and I really appreciate what she’s doing for the sport and for women’s snowboarding in general. It’s just come so far and I think she’s a big reason for that. She’s an amazing athlete and she definitely deserved to win.

Olympian for life
For me, I was so happy just to make finals. That was something I came into the Games wanting to do, so I’m really glad I did that. I’m bummed I couldn’t put it down in finals, but I was just so happy to be there with my friends. It was sick. I fell pretty badly on my final run, but other than that, it was really, really fun.

But then, it’s all been amazing, just the best experience. They say that once you’re an Olympian, you’re an Olympian for life, and I feel like I’ll definitely remember this forever.