Estonia’s Got Talent

Yes, Estonia has talent. Or to be more precise, 10 year old Estonian skier Kelly Sildaru has talent. Oodles of it. This  little ripper from the far-flung corner of the Baltic first appeared on the internet a couple of years back, filming with PVS Company. The skills and uncanny balance were evident, but fast forward to now and take a look at her most recent segment, and I think you’ll agree that the world of women’s freestyle skiing is about to get rather interesting. Go on, watch it in full screen.

Switch 900’s, Flatspin Three, Switch Rodeo 540, multiple switch-ups on rails. You don’t even need to know what that all means – but suffice to say that they’re all tricks that would not look out of place amongst a medal-placing Winter X-Games run. Oh, and she spins both left and right – crucial for getting top marks in competition, but something that’s common only amongst the most accomplished women freeskiers.

So if the young wunderkind is really that good does that mean she’ll be claiming gold in Sochi? Unlikely, given that her event (Slopestyle) takes place a week before her 12th birthday. Last season, Sildaru pre-ran the slopestyle course at Winter X-Games Tignes, however it’s yet to be seen whether she’ll get the opportunity to openly compete against elite level athletes or not this winter. With the sheer scale of the kickers and features that are constructed for Winter X-Games and other top level AFP events, precisely built and requiring high speed just to make the landing, it would still be a huge challenge for her to compete on the same course, and then of course there are safety considerations. What do I think? Well, I think it’s complicated, and having a child who appears to be as comfortable as any female on the planet when it comes to aerial rotation and  rail skills is simply not something that the judges and event organisers have been faced with before. Needless to say, if Kelly Sildaru continues to improve at the same rapid pace over the upcoming winter as she did last winter, it’s going to make compelling viewing…

What do you think? We’d love to hear your views…

Chris Taine

Categories: Athletes

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