VIDEO: Mogul skier Ellie Koyander gets sneak preview of venue for Winter Olympics
IN less than 12 months' time, the diggers will have left Sochi and the athletes – including, hopefully, Derbyshire skier Ellie Koyander – will have moved in ahead of the Winter Olympics.
From February 7 until the 23, the normally quiet Russian town will play host to ice-hockey players, skiers and ice-skaters from all over the world.
Twenty-one-year-old Koyander, from Tideswell, near Bakewell, had a sneak view of what the Olympic Village will look like during a recent Olympic Test event in Sochi and she can't wait to go back.
That is, however, providing she qualifies for the event. The first major competition for Koyander in the run-up to the Winter Games will be this weekend when she competes in the World Championships in Norway.
SPONDON CARPETS AND FLOORING LIMITED. Unit 1 Canalgate Park,...View details
Large new showroom offering wide range of flooring.FREE FITTING AND UNDERLAY on most ranges. Call in and browse round and chat to our experienced sales staff. Late night opening on Thursday till 7.30
Contact: 01332 418267
Valid until: Sunday, June 30 2013
She said: "There is an amazing amount of construction going on in Sochi with the rivers brown with mud and dirt.
"Most of the Olympic structures have been built but only the foundations have been laid for the Olympic Village.
"It was great to go to the Olympic Test event and to try out the course which I'll, hopefully, be competing on next year.
"The conditions weren't great. It's been quite warm in Russia lately and so the course was a little slushy, rather like when I competed in my first Games in Vancouver three years ago."
At 18 Koyander, who is one of the top 30 mogul skiers in the world, was the youngest member of the Great Britain team to compete in Vancouver. Although she didn't get a medal, Koyander was pleased with how she performed in her first Games.
"I can just remember standing at the start gate thinking 'this is it. This is what I've worked so hard for'.
"Once the Vancouver Games were over, though, you have to start preparing for the next Olympic cycle, so there is little break."
Mogul skiers compete over a series of bumps on a course and execute twists and turns along the way.
It has been an Olympic sport since 1992.
However, Koyander has not always been fanatical about mogul skiing. She initially started out as a slalom skier before turning to mogul skiing at the age of 12.
"I was just 18 months old when I first took to the slopes on a family holiday," she said.
"I joined Sharks Ski Club, in Sheffield and then decided to switch from slalom to mogul skiing because it looked so much fun and I was in awe of the mogul skiers on the television at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin."
Just four years later, though, Koyander was actually competing at the Winter Olympics and has had great success since the Games.
Last summer, she was a torch bearer ahead the Summer Games, in London, and she is hoping that the success British athletes had in the capital will rub off on the winter competitors.
"Although it obviously won't be at home, it would be nice to think that the buzz created from last summer's games will carry on for the foreseeable future," she said.
"It would be nice to get some of the support which the summer athletes got.
"Skiing can be very expensive. It's an all-year-round job being a top athlete and with something like skiing, you have to go out and find the snow to practise on.
"However, there is work you can do when not on the slopes, such as strength and conditioning work in the gym and swimming. I practise my back flips on the trampoline, too.
"It can be tricky fitting everything in, especially as I'm also studying Human Biology with the Open University.
"But to succeed, you just need to get a plan figured out as to what you want to do, how you are going to get there and set lots of small goals each day that take you there bit by bit."