Winter Olympics: Why Aberdeenshire teenager Kirsty Muir is Britain’s next big ski star after reaching first-ever Olympic women’s big air final

The 17-year-old freestyle skier from Aberdeenshire qualified seventh for the first-ever Big Air women’s Olympic final but seemed to have something in store.

His first run – two dizzying turns with a one-and-a-half-degree spin on a 50m ramp at 60mph – earned the second-highest score of any competitor and some nods from experienced hands.

It meant she could relax on her next two qualifying attempts with a top-12 finish all but assured – and in the final it will be without gloves, or more specifically mitts.

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Aberdeenshire’s Kirsty Muir has fun at Genting Snow Park, where she’s switching to big air freeskiing

“It’s my best round, DUB 12, and I wanted to nail it on my first run,” she said.

“I had a crash in training with it, so I’m really glad I did it cleanly.

“I’m so happy and really excited to be in the final. It’s a dream come true, I can’t believe it. My first Olympics, my first Olympic final, that’s all I wanted. “

In the shadow of five industrial cooling towers on the grounds of a former steel mill, Big Air Shougang is the world’s first permanent location for these flying tricksters, an urban setting for Generation X-Games.

Kirsty Muir of Great Britain competes in the Freestyle Skiing Women’s Big Air Freeski Qualifying Race during the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics at Big Air Shougang in Beijing

And the youngest member of Team GB certainly looked like she was simply enjoying her Games debut, freed from the weight of expectation and simply embracing the experience.

Four years ago she was already considered Britain’s best, but she was watching the Olympics on her phone in the back of her parents’ car as they drove through Aberdeenshire.

She was captivated when Switzerland’s Sarah Hoefflin and Mathilde Gremaud battled it out for slopestyle gold, now she’ll face them in the Big Air final – after her first spinning and twisting run scored 89.25, plus than any attempt by its heroes.

“Everyone goes to a final hoping to do their best, I just see how it goes,” added Muir.

“I can clean up the holds and there are a few things I could improve on, I just want to go skiing at my best in the final.”

Teammate Katie Summerhayes narrowly missed her progress while former world snowboard champion James Woods failed to land on two runs, meaning the two will return to next week’s slopestyle competition.

But Muir will face idol Hoefflin, who lived in the UK for ten years and qualified for the final with her last jump, albeit two places behind the Briton.

“I’ve always looked up to her and it’s great to be in the finals with her, it’s a great story,” added Muir.

“I met her when I was ten at the British Championships and loved watching her journey. She’s an Olympic champion, but she’s a lovely person and she’s done amazing things to advance the sport feminine.

“I don’t think I feel any pressure from anyone, I just do what I can. At the end of the day, I just have to do my best and try to limit everything. At the end of the day, I’m the only person who can make me proud.”

*Watch all the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics live on the Discovery+ app, Eurosport and Eurosport

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About Walter Bartholomew

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