Rachel Elizabeth Olivier was the sole representative of South Africa at the Winter Youth Olympic Games in Norway from 12-21 February 2016. She is a determined young girl who set her goals in private and made them a reality in public, this is what Johan had to say: “I thought I would like to share something with you: Elizabeth was told that she would be the right age for the Winter Olympic Games by her coach 3 years before the games. She then made it her goal and started doing more, training harder, spending more time on snow, giving it her all at the Winter Sports Academy. We only became aware of the fact that she had the Games as a goal during the 2015 ski season in South Africa (July – August 2015). That was 8 months before the games”.
She is proudly and caringly coached by our National Ski Coach, Alex Heath a 3 time Olympic skier himself.
She says: “I am quiet, hardworking and a bit shy. I love reading, hiking ,being outside and spending time with family and good friends. I love socializing, but prefer being alone. I work hard at any goal I set and always give my best”.
Training happens at the Tiffindell Ski Resort is a fully equipped winter snow resort with state of the art snowmaking and grooming equipment, ski lifts, ski shop and ski school. The resort has an immaculately groomed ski area and offers three months of skiing each year during June, July and August by way of natural and man-made snow.
Athlete: Bio / Stats
|Name & Surname||Rachel Elizabeth Olivier|
|Date of birth||1999-03-19|
|Place of birth||Bloemfontein|
|Current City||Barkly East|
|Club||Ikhepu Ski Pups/ Winter Sports Academy|
|Coach’s Name||Alex Heath : Three times Olympian|
|Out of Country events/ meets||Dream Program 2014 – Pyeongchang, South Korea
FIS races in Italy and Austria
|Secondary Sport/ sports||Tennis, netball, swimming|
|Favorite Song||The gambler – jerry douglas|
|Favorite Movie||Cool Runnings, The Star Wars|
|Tertiary Inst Name/ Year||Sentraal High School, Bloemfontein. Grade 12|
|Sponsors||Tiffindell Ski Resort , Ikhephu Ski Pups|
|Facebook: Elizabeth Olivier
|Community projects involved in||Ikhephu Ski Pups Junior Development Ski Club, Crocs Rock Race Mosheshesford,|
|Parents Names, siblings||Christina and Johan Olivier.
Brothers: Matthys, Francois and Benjamin Olivier
Q: You are one of SA’s top ski athletes, passionate and doing so well, tell me a little bit about how you started in skiing and your journey in the ski arena up to now?
I started skiing when I was 5-6 years old. I am part of the Ski Pups, a development program that teaches children from our community to ski. I learned to ski through the ski pups. Three years ago the ski pups started the Winter Sports Academy at Tiffindell ski resort. I was a full-time athlete at the academy the past 2 years. The academy consists of 32 student who train and go to school at the resort for the 3 months of the winter season duration.
Q: Explain to me slalom and giant slalom?
In Slalom the gates are closer to each other and you have to make shorter turns that follow closely on each other, it is a very dynamic discipline as you move the entire time. Giant Slalom is much faster than slalom as the gates are further apart. You carry more speed through the course as you don’t turn as much as in slalom.
Q: What is the highest accolade that you have achieved in Ski and what is your greatest personal accomplishment?
I am the South African National- and National Junior Champion in Slalom for the past 3 years. My greatest accomplishment is definitely the Youth Olympic Games in Lillehammer, and proudly representing my country at The Games.
Q: You were the sole member of Team SA at the Lillehammer 2016 Winter Youth Olympic Games in Norway from 12-21 February 2016 – Congrats! How did you experience that?
It was amazing to be able to represent my country and compete not only for myself and my country, but also all the young skiers and athletes in my community and our country. It was really good and fun, but it would have been more fun to have some teammates as I got lonely at times. I was a bit overwhelmed by the attention and media coverage I got at the games. I think the pressure on individual athletes in bigger teams are less than being the only athlete.
Q: In your opinion, what is the value of Education in a young person’s life?
Education is the most important part of a young person’s life. We are the future leaders of the world.
Q: Would you like to share a little bit more about your faith journey and how it has affected your life / sports?
Learn to believe in yourself – you are capable of doing much more than you can imagine
Q: What do you do to relax?
I love reading, hiking or playing tennis to relax. I also love listening to music and baking.
Q: What is your personal favourite motivational quote?
Take pride in how far you’ve come, and have faith in how far you can go.
Q: What is your favourite Bible / Scripture quote?
Q: What is your biggest challenge, and what do you do to manage this challenge?
My biggest challenge is balancing my schoolwork and the skiing. It is really tough as I am absent from school 3 months of the year and miss my June exams. It is quite hard to study and focus on the skiing as our season is really short. Another challenge is convincing South Africans that alpine skiing is a competitive winter sport, and a full blown Olympic sport.
Q: In your opinion, how do you define success in life / how do you define a successful person?
A person who can make something meaningful of any situation, who finds love and happiness in relationships
Q: What’s your WHY ? Why do you do what you do?
For the joy of skiing, introducing the sport to more young people. Be an inspiration to young athletes to aim for the best, you never know where it will take you…If I can do it, you can do better!
Q: What is your message of encouragement to South African and African youth and our nation?
Work hard to reach your goals. You never know when your dreams might come true. Keep on believing and have faith in your future, the best is yet to come.
Q: Plans and upcoming major meets / champs for this year?
I will definitely compete in the FIS races in South Africa this season and defend my national title at the National Champs.
Next year the 2017 Almaty Winter Universiade in Kazakstan, will be exciting!
Q: Anything else you would like to share?
You can do it – but not on your own. I wish to thank:
Ikhephu Ski Pups and Winter Sports Academy : my friends and fellow athletes who ski and train with me, volunteers, friends and parents .
Tiffindell Ski Resort
Department of Sport
Snow Sports South Africa
Thank you so much for taking this interview. We would like to wish you all the best for your journey ahead. We look forward to following you as you go from strength to strength. Blessings!
NB – All images were supplied by the athlete to Heslop Sports. If there are any images that are not credited correctly, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with the details and we will gladly do so immediately.