Representing Canada in the Olympics for half-pipe skiing was never a dream for Matt Margetts.
“It never really was because we’re the first generation,” said Margetts. “We wanted half-pipe skiing to be in the Olympics for 2010 so bad because it was in our home country. It was possible to have happen because snowboarding was already in the Olympics. You didn’t need to change anything. You didn’t need to build anything. You just needed to add a sport that was pretty much already there.”
When it didn’t happen Margetts said they were never sure if it ever would. Now, Margetts, who was recently named to Canada’s Olympic team group B, could be competing at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.
“I was really excited that we have finally been heard,” said Margetts, who had a good feeling he would be named to the team since he has been a part of the unofficial half-pipe team the last two years.
Margetts is part of a nine-member group that includes Vernon’s Justin Dorey, who is in group A as he ranked 2nd overall in 2011 AFP Rankings. Margetts, an Apex Freestyle Club alum, said the group is “awesome” because it has all his friends.
“It’s all really talented Canadian athletes and the best in Canada and some of the best in the world,” he said.
CFSA High Performance Director David Mirota said to the Canadian Freestyle Skiing Association website that this group is already a proven team in terms of what the athletes have done in major events. The association recently hired coach Trennon Paynter, a former mogul Olympian with Australia, who is recognized as the best half-pipe ski coach in the world.
“Now with a combination of Trennon’s coaching and support from OTP we can really maximize and improve their performances by giving them tools that we have used successfully in our moguls and aerials programs, like sport science and medical support,” said Mirota.
Because Canada already had the structure in place for the team, Margetts said they are ahead of other countries except one, France.
“They are dominating the scene right now,” he said.
Margetts gets excited about the thought of being an Olympian and said it feels amazing.
“There’s not too many people in the world that can say that.”
This past season was a success for Margetts, who found himself on the podium twice. He placed second in the European Open Halfpipe in Laax, Switzerland and The North Face Open Halfpipe in Northstar, CA. Margetts said he feels he can always be better, even when winning.
“Even if you’re the best in the world, you can always fix and change something,” said Margetts, who suffered a leg injury and broke his ribs during the year.
“I learned a bunch of new tricks that are going a lot bigger.”
Margetts began skiing when he was seven with his family in Penticton. He especially spent time with his father, who couldn’t afford to put him in the Apex Freestyle Club at first. As he got older and better, Margetts’ dad suggested he try racing and quit basketball, which he loved playing, at age 13. His favourite moment being with the AFC was working with coach Josh Dueck.
“He has always been a huge inspiration to me. Especially all of the trauma and things he has been through. How he has overcome everything and anything, how he is now an Olympian. An X Games gold medalist.”
What Margetts loves about the sport is that he grew up skiing with his friends.
“I get to ski with them every day, every weekend and every contest,” he explained. “We travel the world together and see the most unbelievable places together. You are not doing it alone, you are doing it with your best friends that you grew up with.”