British snowboarding sensation Kirsty Muir has a secret up her sleeve when it comes to performing on the slopes.
The 17-year-old Scot has recently started listening to music when she competes, a tactic she believes has given her a competitive edge.
It’s the sounds of the Arctic Monkeys that Muir hopes will help her land her favourite, gravity-defying ‘DUB 12’ jump when she takes to the slopes in Beijing this year.
Muir, one of over 1,000 athletes able to train full-time, access the world’s best coaches and benefit from pioneering technology, science and medical support thanks to vital National Lottery funding, said: “I listen to music while I compete.
“I didn’t use to – but that’s one of the things that has helped with the mental side of the sport. It just helps me get into the flow and relax a bit.
“It takes the focus off the competition and onto the skiing.
“My favourite thing to listen to is definitely the Arctic Monkeys – I really like them and they’re definitely one of my favourites.
“I think there’s a good beat and flow in the songs – they get you ready and that’s what I like.
Muir first tried on a pair of skis at the age of three and hasn’t looked back since.
She honed her craft on the dry ski slopes of Aberdeen Snowsports Club, racking up a string of age group titles.
And in 2018 – aged 13 – she won all three big air, slopestyle and halfpipe events at the BRITS Championships against a star-studded older field.
Two years later came a silver medal at the Youth Olympic Games in Lausanne and now, alongside fellow Team GB freeski stars Izzy Atkin and Katie Summerhayes, her place in Beijing is secure.
She said: “I love the thrill of [freestyle skiing] – there are so many new parts you get a thrill from like landing a new trick, being in the air for longer and thinking: I’m actually in the air flying.
“There’s a lot of adrenaline – and it feels amazing to be heading to the Olympics.
“I’m definitely proud to represent Aberdeen and looking forward to having the chance to do it on the big stage.
“You go to the course and you don’t know exactly what tricks you’re going to be doing.
“You can see photos but you don’t know how this course feels. Getting my DUB 12 with the good grab would be good.
“I think a good Olympics for me would just be being proud of the run that I’ve managed.”
Since National Lottery funding to elite sport started in 1997, over 1,000 Olympic and Paralympic medals have been won, with more to come in Beijing 2022, Paris 2024 and beyond.