Thank F*** it’s Friday with Sochi star Janina Kuzma

Janina Kuzma has her sights on slopestyle success at the Sochi Winter Olympics

Janina Kuzma has her sights on success at the Sochi Winter Olympics. Photo: WANAKA TV for On’s Snow Warriors shoot

Today the NZ Olympic committee announced the 15-strong team of athletes who will compete in snowboard, freeski, alpine skiing, ice speed skating and skeleton in the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia next month. Athletes competing in sports new to the Olympic Winter programme – snowboard slopestyle and freeski halfpipe and slopestyle – dominate the team, including recent World Cup gold medallists Christy Prior (snowboard slopestyle) and Jossi Wells (freeski slopestyle). ANNABEL WILSON caught up with competitor Janina Kuzma to talk skiing, success and flaking out on chairlifts as she packs her bags for the Games. Scroll down to see the whole NZ Winter Olympic team list, then check out what’s ON in Wanaka this week.

Who taught you to ski  and where did you learn?

My Dad ‘Frank’ taught me to ski on a family ski trip in Austria when I was 5 years old.

In five words or less, define success.

Wow, it’s hard to define success in five words! Being passionate, hard work, dedication.

What do you do to get in the zone for your event?


What’s the strangest thing you’ve done, seen or heard on a chairlift?

One time at Cardrona I passed out on McDougall’s chairlift and woke up to Amy Sheehan holding me frantically because I was dangling off the lift! She is definitely an angel sent from heaven.

We love Russia! Especially vodka, Cossack dancers and that massage thing where they beat you with birch branches. What else is cool about Russia? Russia has epic freeriding. The terrain blew my mind when I was there last season. All I wanted to do was put on my fatties and freeride all day long!

Thanks, Janina. We’ll be watching as you represent New Zealand in Freeski Halfpipe! To follow the Games, make sure you head down to the Mons Royale Live from Sochi NZ Winter Olympic hub at Lake Bar, Wanaka. Mons and ON will be there from  February 7 to 23, cheering our Kiwi athletes on.

Olympian                   Age     Hometown           Olympic Sport
Janina Kuzma              28        Wanaka                Freeski Halfpipe
Lyndon Sheehan         25        Wanaka                Freeski Halfpipe
Jossi Wells                  23           Wanaka                Freeski Halfpipe and Slopestyle
Byron Wells                 21         Wanaka                Freeski Halfpipe
Beau-James Wells       18        Wanaka                Freeski Halfpipe and Slopestyle
Anna Willcox                21        Auckland          Freeski Slopestyle
Shane Dobbin               34        Gold Coast, Oz   Ice Speed Skating – Long Track
Katharine Eustace         38      Wanaka                Skeleton
Ben Sandford                34        Rotorua                Skeleton
Adam Barwood              21      Queenstown          Slalom and Giant Slalom
Shelly Gotlieb                33       Ohakune               Snowboard Slopestyle
Stefi Luxton                   22        Wanaka                Snowboard Slopestyle
Christy Prior                   25       Auckland         Snowboard Slopestyle
Rebecca Sinclair            22       Wanaka                Snowboard Halfpipe
Rebecca Torr                 23        Te Puke               Snowboard Slopestyle

What else is ON this week? Tonight it’s the Back to School end of summer craziness at Urban Grind and the NZ Secondary Schools choir in concert. Continuing with the snow theme, we’ll tune in tomorrow to watch our local heroes Sam Smoothy, Neil Williman and Colin Boyd compete at the Freeride World Tour event in Chamonix France. We’ll find our mojo at the Jive 70s Hustle down at Barluga on Saturday night, recover on Sunday while listening to the Tin Flowers, and on Tuesday we’re amped to see the South Auckland Poets Collective at the Masonic Lodge and Shenandoah Davis at Federal Diner. In other news, we’re in love with the bambino burgers at Red Star. Yummy, affordable and not too huge! Keep ON keeping ON, Wanaka crew. We love this place, and you. xxx

On Wanaka and Mons Royale have created a hub for you to get amongst the Winter Olympic Games live from Sochi, Russia! Come ON down to Lake Bar and watch our Kiwi athletes compete against the world’s best. The Games will be screened from 7 – 23 February, plus we’re hosting two Slopestyle dinners on 9 February and 13 February with a set menu, a New Zealand Olympic charity raffle, live blogging and photography and heaps of Ruski fun! Dinner bookings essential, phone (03)4432920 to reserve your table.

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