Hitting the big time
As the new winter sports season gets into gear, we pick out some of the Youth Olympic Games (YOG) stars who have impressed on the senior stage so far.
The US teen sensation – who won two gold medals at the Winter YOG Lillehammer 2016 – is already one of the biggest names in snowboarding, and began the new FIS World Cup season with victory in the halfpipe in Cardrona, New Zealand, in September. The 17-year-old was too young to compete at the Olympic Winter Games Sochi 2014, but will be among the medal favourites for PyeongChang 2018.
The Japanese figure skater has gone from strength to strength since winning two medals – individual silver and team gold – at the Winter YOG Innsbruck 2012. He recently claimed the third Grand Prix victory of his blossoming career at the Skate Canada International and looks set for another impressive season. Having already won gold at the 2017 Asian Winter Games, silver at the 2017 World Championships and bronze at the 2015 and 2016 Grand Prix finals, Uno is sure to be one of the main challengers to compatriot Yuzuru Hanyu as the Olympic Winter Games Sochi 2014 gold medallist looks to defend his Olympic title in PyeongChang.
Korea’s Shim Suk-hee was one of the stars of the Winter YOG Innsbruck 2012, winning both individual short track speed skating events and also claiming bronze in the 3,000m mixed relay. She then made an instant impact on the senior circuit, winning the overall World Cup title in 2012/13 and 2013/14, as well as three medals at the Olympic Winter Games Sochi 2014 and the overall 2014 World Championship crown. And she has already made a positive start to the 2017/18 World Cup season, leading the 1,000m rankings after two rounds thanks to victory in Dordrecht, Netherlands.
The 22-year-old skier – who won three medals at the Winter YOG Innsbruck 2012, including gold in the Super-G – made an encouraging start to the new FIS World Cup season in Sölden, where she finished 14th in the giant slalom. That’s the Swede’s best World Cup result to date, and saw her finish above a host of star names including 2016 overall champion Lara Gut and Olympic gold medallist Lindsey Vonn.