CAMBEWARRA snowboarding sensation Amber Arazny is well on her way to realising her dream of making the Australian Winter Olympic team.
Arazny, 22, competed in the women’s halfpipe competition of the 2013 FIS Snowboarding World Championships at Québec, Canada, on January 19 and 20, along with 30 other athletes from 13 countries.
Arazny finished 13th in the competition, three positions away from qualifying for the semi-final.
She finished second out of the Australian team, ranked below Holly Crawford, who finished overall third in the world cup event.
It was almost a missed opportunity for Arazny, who was originally told that Australia’s quota spots were filled for the world championships.
But the night before the team was meant to fly to Canada, she found out that Olympic gold medallist, Torah Bright, had pulled out of the competition.
With only 10 hours before the Australian team left for Canada, Arazny was offered the chance to fill Bright’s position.
“I had to book a flight, pack my bags and travel to the airport. It was pretty insane,” she said.
Arazny did not let her team down, landing a barrage of tricks in her two runs to take 13th spot.
“On my second run, I did the same tricks, but I had nothing to lose, so I went a lot bigger on everything and it was much smoother. So that was my highest scoring run. If I had have made semi-finals I would have put my frontside 720 in my run,” she said.
Arazny said she was surprised with her world championship result.
“As it was my first event for the season, I wasn’t focused on where I finished in the field. I just wanted to land my runs and be able to step it up on my second run, which I did,” she said.
“It was definitely the icing on the cake to know that I’d almost made the semi-finals, and I didn’t even throw my hardest or best tricks.
“The world champs was a great event. It was my first chance at being a part of an event like this, where all the athletes stayed at the hotel together and ate together.
“I was so excited to be able to participate because it made me feel like I was part of something huge, and that all my hard work had paid off.”
Arazny is currently living in Frisco, Colorado, where she trains everyday.
The next competition in her sights is the last world cup in March at Sierra Nevada, Spain.
“At the moment I have achieved two top 20 results at world cups this season, so I’m working to improve or maintain my ranking,” said Arazny.
“This year is all about staying injury free and getting as many FIS points as I can.”
Arazny said that the world championship results meant everything to her Olympic dream.
The International Olympic Committee criteria is to get a top 30 finish and earn 100 FIS points based on results.
Her 13th position meant that she has met the criteria.
“Now it’s just a matter of keeping my points and ranking higher than the other Aussies from my team in competitions over the next 12 months to qualify for a spot on the Australian Olympic team,” she said.
The recent world cup has signified a comeback for Arazny, who suffered compression fractures to three vertebrae in her back while competing at Thredbo in September last year.
“I landed on the knuckle of the jump and I guess my whole body compressed and my spine absorbed the impact,” she said.
Arazny was restricted to one month of bed rest to let her back initially heal, followed by three months of rest, physiotherapy and rehabilitation.
“It was definitely a scary experience. But thankfully I had all my family and friends there to help me through it,” she said.
“All this wouldn’t be possible without Mum and Dad, my coaches at Ski and Snowboard Club Vail, and Gnu Snowboards, Elecric Visual and Semantics Snowboarding.”