Olympic hopeful

Zoe Rubin discusses her experience at the 2010
Winter Olympics and what the future may hold for her

by Kalika Hastings

Between Feb 22 and Feb 27, fourth semester Health Science student Zoe Rubin participated in the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics as a forerunner for the Snowboard Parallel Giant Slalom (PGS) event.

The role of a forerunner is given to athletes who are expected to represent Canada at the next Olympic competition (in this case, the 2014 games in Sochi, Russia). At only 18-years old, Rubin has two years of experience on the Quebec Alpine Snowboard Team, where she has proven to be an extremely gifted athlete.

As one of the four Quebec forerunners to participate in the Olympics, her task was to test the slopes for the upcoming race, to make sure that the hill was in good condition and that the timing equipment was working properly. All forerunners were given the opportunity to train alongside the Olympic athletes days prior to the race on Cypress Mountain, where all the snowboarding events took place.

“The great thing about it is being able to be there and experience just how nerve-racking it will be to compete in the future,” Rubin said.
Snowboarding first became an official sport in the 1998 Nagano Olympics, but it wasn’t until the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics that the Ladies PGS became an event.

The PGS event, which is one of six snowboarding events at the Olympics, differs from familiar ski slalom in several ways: the gates in the snowboard slalom are triangular shaped which allows the snowboarder to lean over the gate without getting hit as skiers often do, there are two competitors who are racing simultaneously, and racers compete twice in each round. Moving on to the next round requires that one snowboarder wins both, otherwise, the racer with the lowest cumulative time moves on.

“The best part was being in Vancouver and feeling the excitement from the community,” Rubin said.

She had much support from her parents who accompanied her on the trip; they were just as excited to be there as she was.

“Honestly, my parents were almost more excited than I was,” Rubin said.

Rubin managed to rank second place in the Ontario FIS race, which was her first race after the Olympics. She admits that her experience helped to motivate her to do her very best. Rubin, who is in her final semester at Dawson and has just recently been accepted to McGill’s Physiology program, understands the difficulty of juggling snowboarding and school in the future but she will continue to do the best she can.

“I know it won’t be easy, but I will have to manage my time [effectively],” Rubin said.

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