Belle Brockhoff: Fit, firing and focused
While some of out best summer athletes prepare across the other side of the globe for the Olympics starting this week, there’s a whole bunch of winter ones on our own doorstep getting it done.
In case you didn’t know the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea are only 18 months away so I’ll be checking in with some of our top hopes over that time.
This week I chat with the feisty Belle Brockhoff – one of Australia’s best hopes in the snowboard cross.
A World Cup winner for the first time last season Belle looks to be timing her Games run to perfection. She was quite outspoken in the lead-up to Sochi where she was eighth – now she’s looking to let her snowboarding do much of the talking.
The Snow Gauge: First up – congratulations on a great northern hemisphere season in 2015/16 – your first World Cup win and third place overall. Seems like you really stepped up – what do you put it down to?
Belle Brockhoff: Thank you! I’m really happy with the goals I crossed off last year and still learnt so much. I put it down to the awesome corner I have and also the added practise on a snowboard.
TSG: OWI boss Geoff Lipshut mentioned it and in pictures it seems to ring true – you look really fit! Was that something you have concentrated on to get you up to the next level?
BB: Lately I’ve been adding a lot of boxing, cycling and core gymnastic to my training program with the help of my trainer which we found has really helped my fitness.
TSG: What’s a typical fitness week like for you – is there one when you are on/off the slopes?
BB: When off the snow we crank up the training in and out the gym with benchmarks we aim to get before the domestic snow season. Then during the snow season our focus is on snow training with some light gym sessions and recovery in the afternoons.
TSG: And what about the season domestically so far, it has been a bit up and down. Have you had much of a chance to train?
BB: So what’s been happening during the Australian season – it’s obviously been extremely variable weather-wise. We have been able to train quit a bit to test new equipment and work on our techniques which I’ve been happy about. Any on snow time we get hereis valuable. We train in all kinds of conditions because you never know what kind of weather you will get at a comp and we want to be prepared as best as we can.
TSG: What are the plans for the rest of the season here?
BB: I’m heading to Hotham for a futures camp to coach Australia’s future SBX racers which I’m super excited about! We then have a few comps which is also exciting!
TSG: How was the Sochi experience overall? You were determined to make some points about Russia’s anti-gay propaganda laws – was it much of a distraction?
BB: It was awesome to get my first games under my belt at a younger age as I took experience from it. We always have distractions leading into comps, Russia’s anti-gay laws being one of the many which you just naturally filter out when you need to.
TSG: Clearly there were some other issues there related to athlete funding which I’m sure were unwanted at the time too. It sounds like things have been improved and that situation is better now?
BB: Since the games things have changed and our team has become tight. My team mate Chumpy played a major part of pulling the team together and working through things that were unclear we had and we are at a very strong place now which was shown at the World Cup at Spain. We achieved not only two wins but also history in Australian Winter Sports. I have a lot of respect for Chumpy and I hope we can back up that same success at the games in 2018 together.
TSG: So to Korea – what will your preparations be like over the next 18 months in the lead-up to those Games?
BB: Right now and until the games Im fine tuning my body, mind set and equipment. Ill always be trying to improve myself as a athlete and person as i feelthis will give me the best pathway to achieve that top spot at the games and also on tour.
TSG: And you’ve raced there, what’s the course likely to be like?
BB: The course will be a similar layout to the test event but possibly with more features. Its a fun, fast and big course which is always plus for us athletes and the spectators.
TSG: I know there has been a bit of changing of the guard in your sport with a few retirements. Think the timing is right for you to give the gold medal a shake?
BB: I’m really happy with my season to step up into the top 3 in the world ranks. I still have a lot of improving to do and my aim is to be at the Olympics in 2018 ready to bring my best racing to the table. There are always younger athletes coming through the sport too which is exciting to see but I know they will be pretty hungry to win too.