He may be only 16 but SportsAid athlete Justin Taylor-Tipton is excited to give something back to the charity that has supported him through the early stages of his career on the snow.
Freestyle ski star Justin, already an English champion at under-16 and open age level, has been a SportsAid athlete for two years, and earlier in 2016, achieved three under-16 podium finishes at the British Championships in Switzerland.
SportsAid has a successful track record of supporting winter sport athletes. At the last Winter Olympic Games in 2014, 34 out of the 56 Team GB athletes in Sochi were current or previous SportsAid athletes, with alumna Lizzy Yarnold winning gold.
Justin will host The SportsAid Charity Jam at Stoke Ski Centre today with proceeds going to the charity, and the Kirk Hallam Academy pupil admits he wouldn’t be the athlete he is today without SportsAid’s support.
“I did a charity event last year but this time I chose SportsAid because I wanted to give something back to them,” said Justin, who received his 2016 SportsAid award from Nottingham Building Society.
“It makes me feel really good about myself that I can give them something back, because the money will go back into young athletes like me and help them like SportsAid have helped me.
“They have helped me for a few years now, helping me financially and getting me out there more. I think it’s so important that SportsAid support young athletes, because without them, I wouldn’t have had the opportunities that I’ve been given.
“I wouldn’t be able to go abroad as often, hitting the big jumps and doing all my tricks, because you can’t do that in the UK as the jumps are so small, so they’ve really helped me to develop my performance.”
This summer has been a busy one for Justin, travelling around Europe and further afield in order to train on the snow in preparation for competition season. His long-term dream of competing at the Winter Olympic Games in the future is very much front of mind.
“In May, I went to Dubai with the GB team, which was great because I’d love to compete at that level one day. I’m doing a lot of Europa Cups this year to help me get points, which will help me get into the national squad.
“It’s my dream to compete at the Winter Olympics and the X-Games one day. I’d love to be in Pyeongchang in 2018 but I think it’s too soon for me, so I’m aiming for the 2022 Olympics instead.”
Justin is hosting The SportsAid Charity Jam to support the inaugural SportsAid Week – a brand new fundraising initiative launched in 2016 which be returning next year with dates to be revealed soon on www.sportsaid.org.uk/sportsaidweek.