Vernon snowboarder Kevin Hill reflects after competing in his last winter Olympics | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Vernon snowboarder Kevin Hill reflects after competing in his last winter Olympics

Vernon resident Kevin Hill competed at the 2022 Winter Olympics snowboard cross event.
Image Credit: FACEBOOK/Kevin Hill

Vernon Olympian Kevin Hill says one of the most memorable moments of the 2022 games in Bejing, China, aside from his snowboard cross race, was watching legend Shaun White in his final race.

This was Hill’s third time and final time competing in the winter games snowboard cross event. He finished 27th. In 2018, he placed 14th and in 2014 he placed eighth.

Following his race, participants then turned into audience members and cheered on the rest of the competitors. The games officially wrap up Feb. 20.

READ MORE: Olympian flashes 'No War in Ukraine' sign after competing

Both White, a snowboard pioneer, and Hill are 35, something Hill related to as they both won’t be returning for another season.

“I met him quite a few times all over the world because we’d been at the same places and same training facilities so it was really cool to see him in the pipe and his last run,” he said, adding he also enjoyed watching the Mixed Team Snowboard Cross land a bronze spot and when Japan’s Ayumu Hirano landed the first triple cork in Olympic competition.

“Only one in millions and millions of people can do that, so that was the highlight for sure,” Hill said.

On his own race, he said he’s feeling better than he was race day when he spoke during his return trip home on a layover in Singapore. With flights no longer flying directly from Beijing to Vancouver, it will take him about 45 hours to return home.

“The games are so weird because we race world cups all season, all the same people, every race, good and bad races and then you get to the Olympics and you have a bad race and it’s like the world is coming to the end. For some people, it’s the best race of your life and for others, it’s the worse race of your life because there’s a build-up of four years to it.”

“I was very disappointed though and embarrassed… I did horrible compared to what I’m used to,” he said. “An athlete rates themselves against the best in the world and the general public rates them against everyone else.”

Staying in Beijing for 10 days felt similar to other Olympics, he said.

“Nothing crazier, nothing weird,” he said, adding the only weird thing is wearing a mask 24/7 outside of your room and people were freaked out a week prior because of the concern of catching COVID-19. A positive test meant athletes were barred from competition.

Without enough support, unless you win all your competitions, Hill said this is his final Olympic event.

“The funding from the Canadian Government has gone up once in 12 years and it’s still below the poverty level, so to be honest, it’s tough,” Hill said.

READ MORE: Queries on doping, harassment, ineptitude at Olympics

In hindsight, he said chuckling, tennis might be a sunnier sport to compete in and a good spectator sport with less risk of injury and higher pay.

His next goal is to start a family.

He said he had to be careful about what he said about his experience in Beijing but added as a positive person, he has no complaints.

Big White athlete Tess Critchlow finished sixth in snowboard cross and freestyle skier Elena Gaskell was knocked out of the competition with a knee injury she received while training in Beijing. 

READ MORE: Injury knocks Vernon freestyle skier Elena Gaskell out of big air event

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