FREESTYLE flyer Felix Klein says his sport being added to the Winter Olympics in 2014 was a shot in the arm to his skiing ambitions, writes Will Jennings.

Cirencester’s Klein never pictured competing at the Games as his favoured slopestyle and half-pipe disciplines were not included in the Winter Olympic programme.

But that all changed in Sochi seven years ago as American pair Joss Christensen and David Wise scooped the sports’ maiden gold medals on the Russian snow.

This month marks one year to go until Beijing 2022 and Klein, currently in Livigno for a Great Britain training camp, admits Olympic bosses’ decision transformed his Games dreams into reality.

The New Zealand-raised 20-year-old said: “When I first got into skiing, it wasn’t an Olympic sport, so I’d never thought about the Olympics.

“But when I was 14 in 2014, Sochi was the first year it became an Olympic sport.

“It was quite controversial, to be honest. The Olympics is seen as quite a serious event, and it’s not a fun sort of event, if you like.

“It definitely killed a lot of things in skiing – there’s a league of competitions that no longer exist. However, it definitely brought up the stature of skiing.

“It’s exciting to see how far skiing has come because of the Olympics.

“Beijing 2022 is a bit too soon, especially because all the Olympics qualifying events have been cancelled. The one after that, though, in Milan Cortina, Italy, would be my aim.”

Klein’s skiing career is financially supported by a partnership between Entain – owner of Ladbrokes and Coral – and SportsAid, set up in 2019 and part of the company’s innovative Pitching In initiative.

The sustained assistance helps him access funding for training, travel, equipment and mentoring and the Great Britain B-team star is taking full advantage as he jetset to Italy earlier this year.

Klein competed at the slopestyle World Cup in 2019 and finished tenth at the Australian New Zealand Cup later that year.

Competitive action went on hold through lockdown and Klein, who is studying at Hartpury College, moved to his aunt and uncle’s in Kylesku, Scotland to keep his skiing skills sharp north of the border.

His parents, Andre and Zoe, are based in Cirencester after bringing Klein, and his brother Jasper, 18 – also a GB skier – up in New Zealand before their move to the UK five years ago.

Klein watched New Zealand freestyle aces Zoi Sadowski-Synnott and Nico Porteous scoop medals in Pyeongchang in 2018 having grown up with the pair before his move to Gloucestershire.

He’s now gunning to follow in their glittering Games footsteps and added: “Nico and Zoi were both young Olympics medallists, and first New Zealanders to win medals for a long time.

“I grew up with both of them, so that was quite a special moment for me.

“It would be a dream come true if I went to the Olympics. That is the goal.”

Entain, owner of Ladbrokes and Coral, is proud to be championing the next generation of British sporting heroes by providing talented young athletes with financial support and personal development opportunities in partnership with SportsAid.

As part of this three-year partnership, Entain are supporting a diverse group 50 of UK athletes per year from a variety of spots and para-sports.

Visit to find out more.