The Opening Ceremony of the Winter Olympics in Sochi takes place on Friday but competition gets under way on Thursday with Bangor’s Aimee Fuller in action in the qualifying round of the Snowboard Slopestyle.
It’s a new event to the Games but a big draw at the Winter X Games with its extreme tricks off jumps, and is likely to be a big hit with television audiences.
Fuller, one of four Team GB snowboarders, got a first-hand feel for the controversial course at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park this week.
Some, including Irish snowboarder Seamus O’Connor, have questioned its safety and American double Olympic champion Shaun White admitted that the daunting course which has already claimed two injury victims presented an “intimidating” challenge.
Changes were made on Tuesday after the organisers consulted with the athletes.
But Fuller, who finished seventh at the Winter X Games in Aspen a fortnight ago, says the action will keep the fans on the edge of their seats.
“It’s very big and I can’t believe what they’ve put together here.
“It’s definitely extreme and very fast and there’s literally no time to think with three large jumps and I think it will be key to put a solid run down early on and be consistent It’s probably the biggest and most exciting slopestyle course in history.
“I think it is going to go down with a bang. It’s big,” said Fuller.
As long as she can safely negotiate qualification the semi-finals and final are scheduled for Sunday.
“It’s great to have the competition at the start of the Olympics and because qualification is on Thursday I’ll be able to go to the Opening Ceremony and then have a day to rest before the final day on Sunday.
“I can savour the whole Olympic experience after that.”
Fuller added, “For qualifying I think I will keep it simple. If I get to the final I will go all out.”