On Friday the 4th, Queralt Castellet had her second experience as a Spanish flag bearer at the opening of the Olympic Games. of winter. It was already in Vancouver 2010, in her second Olympic presence (she made her debut in Turin 2006), since at the time of the designation she was the sixth classified in the Halfpipe World Cup, the snowboard modality in which the Vallesana aspires to be among the best in Beijing and, who knows, if finally get on the podium.
At 32 years old, also an Olympian in Sochi 2014 and Pyeongchang 2018, Queralt is living her fifth Games in China after being the Spanish woman with the best results of the cycle, since she won the bronze medal in her discipline at the Aspen World Championship from last year. World silver already in 2015, Castellet is also a triple medalist at the X-Games, after recently achieving a silver in superpipe in Aspen.
Thus, he will seek in his usual halfpipe to crown his record with an Olympic medal, although he will have a lot of competition for it in these Olympic Games. The American Chloe Kim, the Chinese Cai Xuetong, the Canadian Elizabeth Hosking or the powerful Japanese team are, a priori, tough rivals for the athlete from Sabadell.
Queralt already achieved an Olympic diploma four years ago in South Korea with a 7th place. To the question of how she reaches her fifth Olympic Games, what it means for her to reach this number of participations, and if she may be in her best form, she answers: "I arrive very motivated and with a lot of desire after a very good season and Also, with the satisfaction of having started the year great with a medal at the X Games and at the Laax Open FIS World Cup. I feel like I'm in the best moment of my career, but when talking about favorites, it's a test in which "there is no longer a top 3, but a top 10 or a top 12 of 'riders' with medal options".
The Catalan rider assures that she met the venue where she is going to compete next morning Spanish time “two years ago, on a visit”. And that the Beijing pipe is in a place where it is windy, as he will have been able to verify 'in situ' after his first contact with the installation. "It's been a few days of good acclimatization and good training. I feel super comfortable, the pipe is in great condition and I'm really looking forward to it," Queralt said before the qualifying round on Wednesday. "But I have never signed a position before starting," he stresses.
Rivals and companions
His training bases are Laax (Switzerland) and Colorado (USA). “In the end there between the World Cups at Copper Mountain and at Mammoth, the Dew Tour, the X Games and until last year the Burton US Open, almost everything happened in the US,” says Castellet. It also has training camps at Mammoth Lakes and Mt. Hood in Oregon, Saas-Fee, Switzerland, and Austria.
Queralt does not hide his admiration for the work of the Japanese. “The number of girls who are at the level of getting medals is huge and I personally am a big fan and I admire the way of working in Japan, how they value detail and style, adapting to each one, respect for snowboarding, and how to support each other. In my opinion, they are the ones that are doing the best job in general”, highlights Queralt.
“Hang me a medal? All the Games and competitions are different but I always face the tests with the objective and the strategy of my tricks and preparation to be at the top; In the end, the challenge is always the same and the circumstances are the ones you find on the appointed day and time. I have to be able to adapt better than anyone else to the conditions and do the best riding”, he adds.
In a press conference organized by the Spanish Olympic Committee, the Catalan rider stressed that her rivals are also her teammates. "What I like the most is that each one has its particularities and I can learn from them and motivate myself. I would like to highlight the fluidity and focus on the details of the Japanese, the energy bomb of the American Chloe Kim, current Olympic champion, or the progressing revolution of the Chinese".
The Spanish athlete is very aware of the pandemic. “These last few years have been very different from everything, and everyone has suffered difficulties. In sport there has been almost no training, we have had to adapt and get the most out of the competitions, but the most positive conclusion is that we have learned to give more value to being in the mountains competing”.
Finally, a fact that may be important in the Olympic halfpipe that starts next morning. "The big difference here is the cold, the snow has a much lower temperature, so the board runs less and there is much more grip, which is why waxing is essential for the board to run more and better."