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Halfpipe star Alexandra Duckworth goes public for funding

Whistler-based rider looking to qualify for 2014 Winter Games



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Duckworth said those limitations make it harder to ensure that the team will have a presence at the Games in 2014. For one thing, she will have to divide her time between the pro TTR tour — where sponsors want athletes and where the most prize money is up for grabs — and the FIS World Cup tour, which is where athletes have to compete to earn points and quota spots for the Olympics.

As well, athletes on the national team have to follow the World Cup tour to keep their position on the national team — and even if they don't get a lot of funding right now there are other perks to being with the national program like university tuition, a cell phone plan, access to their global medical plan, and more.

Duckworth is encouraged that the FIS and TTR tours are working more closely than before, and says there are less conflicts this year.

"For example, this year we're seeing less competition (between) tours, and less conflicts between the two systems," Duckworth said.

"Canada Snowboard has been adapting to these changes so that team selection isn't based solely on FIS points, but a combination of the FIS and TTR. I think this means a bright future for the upcoming generation of Canadian snowboarders; they won't have to deal with this trade-off as much as my generation of national team athletes."

However, Duckworth pointed out that the Olympics are still based entirely around FIS, and you need to rank in the top 30 of FIS rankings to go to the Games in 2014.

Duckworth does receive $18,000 per year through the national carding system for senior-level athletes, but otherwise is paying 100 per cent of her own training and competition costs for the coming season.

There could be other funding through the provincial government and national level sponsors, but Duckworth said she's not currently enrolled in those programs.

Pursuit, which launched on Sept. 30 with five athletes, is her biggest hope right now.

"Pursuit's emphasis on linking an athlete with his/her community and various networks is a huge part of the support required to make it in this game," she said.

Her goal of $8,652 was based on her airfare costs to get to World Cup events this season. "Ideally, I can blow this initial goal out of the water and raise enough for all of my travel costs, including accommodation, training costs and coaching fees."

Duckworth has ramped up her own training, working on more inverted tricks and more airtime. She's also focusing on making her runs more creative, which is where she sees the biggest window of opportunity.