#YOGjourney: snowboard star Hailey Langland ready to take off in PyeongChang
Since competing at the Winter Youth Olympic Games (YOG) in 2016, US snowboarder Hailey Langland has seen her career reach ever more impressive heights, culminating in a gold medal in big air at last year’s Winter X Games. The 17-year-old tells olympic.org about her #YOGjourney from Lillehammer to the biggest stage of all in PyeongChang.
How have your experiences at the Winter YOG Lillehammer 2016 helped you adjust to competing in PyeongChang?
“The Youth Olympic Games were definitely like a precursor for what I'm here for now. And if there's anything that I've learned from Lillehammer, it's definitely not to stress out as much as I did when I was there. I was super insecure in my own head about my riding and ended up getting eighth place, so it definitely showed how I wasn't confident in myself. Now I’m here, I just want to have fun, soak up the experience and really enjoy it.”
Is it easier coming to the Games having already had that YOG experience?
“It definitely helps because there are a lot of similarities between the Youth Olympic Games and the Olympic Winter Games. I’m already used to things like the security and the living situation in the Olympic Village, so it's pretty nice to have had that little early start.”
What are your first impressions of PyeongChang 2018?
“Everyone here is so nice! Everyone working here is always saying, ‘Hi.’ And they're just so stoked to have the Games here; it's really cool. All the athletes from all the other countries seem to be really excited as well.”
How cool is it having Sochi 2014 slopestyle gold medallist Jamie Anderson as a team-mate?
“Jamie has definitely been kind of a life coach this week. I met her when I was about 14 years old at my first US Open and ever since then, she's always taken me under her wing. She’s always giving me the best advice – even though this sport is so individual, we definitely all have each other’s backs. And I feel like this is more of a team sport, just because everyone's really looking out for each other and everyone wants the best for one another.”
What are your targets for the Games?
“Honestly, I already reached my goal of making the team this year, so now I'm just here to have fun and showcase my style of riding and just try to have as much fun as I can.”
Is there anything that you're particularly looking forward to during the Games?
“I'm really looking forward to being able to soak up the Korean culture. There's not many times in a lifetime where you can come to these kinds of places, especially somewhere as deep in the countryside as PyeongChang is. But it's going to be really cool. I can't wait to try out Korean foods and maybe learn some of the language. So I'm really excited.”