Koyander tipped for Sochi medal

Coach Pat Deenen insists young pupil Ellie Koyander will become the first Briton to win a Winter Olympic ladies' moguls medal in Sochi in four years time.


Koyander finished a valiant 24th on her Olympic debut in Vancouver in February, just four places and 1.94 points away from a place in the final.

And at 18 years old, Koyander wasn't only the sole British representative in the moguls competition, but also one of the youngest members of the 52-strong GB team in Canada.

But the teenage prodigy is far from alone in her quest for future Olympic success and in Deneen she has a coach who knows a thing or two about succeeding at the highest level.

The American coached his son, also Pat, to world moguls gold in Japan last year and is adamant Koyander can follow suit and climb the podium at her second Olympics in 2014.

"Ellie's run went really well and it takes time for things to really click into place," said Deneen. "The girls at the top right now have been skiing the same runs over and over again for the past 15 years and Ellie has only been doing them for a month.

"So taking that into account and all the hard work we are going to be doing from now on - she is a real medal contender for 2014.

"We have been working on pieces, the top, the bottom and the middle and we wanted to allow her to experience the Olympics before stepping things up.

"Our whole concept was to get her here to Canada and allow her to get the feeling of the Olympics and to enjoy it.

"Now the plan is to work hard on what she needs to do to match the best girls in the world and that starts now."

Koyander caught the eye of Deneen as a fresh-faced 14-year-old at the FIS Junior World Ski Championships in Russia in 2006 before earning the right to train under him a year later.

Deenen had only coached his son prior to taking Koyander - who was the lowest ranked competitor in the Olympic ladies' moguls competition - under his wing.

And while he was initially reluctant to buck the trend for Koyander, Deneen admitted it was worth it after watching the Chesterfield teenager come of age on the slopes of Cypress Mountain.

"We have been working together for three years and I have rarely met someone with such dedication to work hard as she has," he added.

"And she has never flat lined, she has always gone on an upward trajectory. She knows she has got to do a lot of skiing to get where she wants to be.

"But she has the ability to learn something and then repeat it, which is really important, I don't care who you are, that is hard to do."

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