Belle Brockhoff is one of the champions of Australian snowboarding and one of their Olympic hopefuls for upcoming PyeongChang in 2018. Her boarding discipline is Snowboard Cross aka Boardercross and it’s best for her and Matt Thomas to explain that before we move on….
Brockhoff’s results on the international circuit speak for themselves. Her World Cup results are pretty much the best an athlete can hope for and her odds for PyeongChang are exceptional.
Personal Best Results:
Olympic Winter Games – 8th Sochi, Russia 2014
World Championships – 7th Kreischberg, Austria 2015
World Cup – 1st Bansko, Bulgaria 2017, 1st Montafon, Austria 2016, 1st Baqueira Beret, Spain 2016
X-Games – 4th Aspen, Colorado, USA 2015
Brockhoff made some headlines back in 2014 by standing up for the rights of the gay community and basic human rights in Russia. She was the only openly gay member of the Australian Olympic team in Sochi, and spoke out against Russia’s anti-gay laws. First and foremost she is an athlete that represents her country, following that she is an advocate for human rights, anti-discrimination and the general betterment of humanity. She furthers her community involvement as an ambassador for beyondblue. beyondblue provides information and support to help everyone in Australia achieve their best possible mental health, whatever their age and wherever they live.
And if that wasn’t enough, she partnered up with Jo Bakker to create the street fashion label Yuzoko. Yuzoko is a mix of the Japanese words Yuki and Kazoku, translating to Snow and Family. They make short and long sleeved tees and some tank styled tops. They are causal but modern minimalist boarder/skater/surfer/skier styled shirts and this very article author owns one himself :). And as Belle is so bloody nice she has organised a 15% off code for anyone that wants to buy some of their threads. ENTER CODE: “SNWBRD” AT CHECKOUT.
Belle managed to find the time for an online interview between indulging in chocolate and cheese, oh and training, in Switzerland where she is in full pre-Olympic preparation until Christmas.
Thanks Belle. And big thanks to Coach Harald Benselin for the amazing photography of Belle. Pics taken at Saas Fee and Glacier 3000.
THE BELLE BROCKHOFF INTERVIEW
A lot of people underestimate how hard the training for the winter Olympics is, can you tell us about your training approach? How have you and your style evolved since Sochi? And how has your training varied with post injury recovery? We hope you are on the fast track of mending so you can collect some shiny yellow things in Feb.
Thankyou! Shiny yellow things are always nice to have! My approach is being present in each training session and making sure its maximized to its full potential. I train hard and also make sure I recover well, as its just as important. I’ve been meditating heaps too since the mind is the most powerful thing I have and I want to make sure it is strong. Since Sochi, I feel everything has grown, my mental abilities, as a person, snowboarding skills and physical state. That growth has shown through my results and also how I handle my losses. I love training and looking for ways to better myself every day, snowboarding is my love and obsession. My rehab and return to snow has been really good. I got back on a snowboard 4.5 months post op but that involved many hours in the gym every day. I have a really good group of people in my corner which I’m really grateful for.
What’s your all-time favorite place to board and why? Favorite international resort?
I love snowboarding at Aspen, Colorado. Its where I first started training overseas when I was 11 yrs old. I also got to watch all the rockstars of snowboarding at the X-Games while I was training there. Now, I go there to compete at X-Games as an athlete and I find that pretty cool.
How do you get psyched and stay pumped before a race/event? Any particular music that keeps you in the zone?
My routine starts from when I wake up. I have a cold shower then do some juggling with tennis balls. I then go to breakfast before meditating and getting ready to head up to the slopes. These things in the morning really set my focus level for the day and keeps me switched on.
I cannot thank you enough for the support to the LGBTI Community and Human Rights in general. It is imperative for known athletes and personalities to keep up the support and conversation. It appears that things have moved more backwards in the Russian part of the world since Sochi and Trump’s Presidency is trying to follow them down a dark rabbit hole with Australia not far behind. How do you feel about the current state of affairs for the LGBTI community? Hope you got your SSM vote in before departing to train.
I definitely got my vote in before I left overseas! I’m not an activist, I am a snowboarder, however I am not in favor of exclusion, discrimination and all other kinds of hate regardless if part of the LGBTI community or not. We need to create more awareness around the topic and show we are only humans wanting to share our love with another. Through that, we also need to understand why ones view is a certain way so we can create that awareness. I came out publicly at Sochi and I openly talk about my sexuality because there are people out there who are scared to be who they are and scared to openly express themselves. I say I’m gay because I want to help others feel supported, comfortable and know it’s okay to be who they are. Love is love and if we want that, we must express it in every kind of way and become more than who we are.
And Beyond Blue – another support worthy of high praise. Can you explain a bit about Beyond Blue please and what your ambassadorship entails?
Beyond Blue is a non-profit organisation that looks for ways to reduce stigma, tackle discrimination and encourage people to empower themselves and take control of their own lives. I have been with Beyond Blue for the last 4 years sharing my own personal journey through depression and anxiety. I do this in hope to provide comfort to those who are going through similar things to show them there is light beyond the blue. It has been quite important to me working with BB.
What have you learned this last year in snowboarding?
Snowboarding, particularly this year, has taught me a great deal about myself, patience and being incredibly present. I’m really grateful for that.
What’s your biggest “oh shit” moment?
I don’t have one “oh shit” moment but I do have a fair few over-shooting jumps which sometimes I have no idea how I get away with!
What do you think has been the single most important event to help advance women’s snowboarding since you began boarding?
It’s been the growth of women in sport in general, from women’s cricket to AFL to winter sport. Women in winter sport has had a great deal of success. At one point last season we had three women wearing the World Cup Tour Leader jersey which is incredible! It’s inspired many girls and now we have more girls getting involved, especially in snowboarding, which is huge!
Who are your biggest influences (snowboarding or not)?
I do take note of the top snowboarding in all the disciplines and in SBX to better my riding. SBX Athletes like Alex “Chumpy” Pullin, Pierre Vaultier and Eva Samkova, are riders who I watch and learn a tonne from. Outside from snowboarding, it’s my mum, she’s my biggest mentor and inspiration. She also just hiked Mt Everest base camp last month!
Who are the boarders to watch out for in the 2017/2018 season?
There’s a few young guns coming though the sport in Australia. Adam Lambert, who made quite the entrance during his first season on World Cup. 12yr old Valentino Guseli has doubles in the bag and hitting real big kickers! Tess Coady, who is also young, and the current Jr World Champ. And last but not least, Scotty James who is also still young and has a bag full of titles already!
Favorite Movie all time? Snowboard Movie?
My favourite has to the be all Star Wars movies, I’m a bit of geek when it comes to that too haha! Also Art of Flight is my favourite snowboard movie.
Favorite cheat meal?
Nutella! Love just getting a spoon and going to town with a jar of Nutella.
With our interviews, we would like to do a little “hot or not” section. What are 4 or 5 things that you’re really stoked on at the moment? It could be in snowboarding or just life in general. Then on the flip side, 4 or 5 things that are not so cool, or that annoy you.
HOT: Snowboarding (duh), WAFL, kindness, my 3 awesome dogs (Tinkerbell, Tiger Lilly, Captain Jack) and my family.
NOT: Racism, discrimination, bullying, disrespect and tall poppy syndrome.
In closing what advice would you give to little baby boarders and mini shredders who want to be like you in the future?
I’d tell them to just really enjoy the journey and experiences snowboarding has to offer. Give it your best and be open to learning from other athletes in the sport. Most importantly, do it because you love it and have fun!
Full Name: Belle Brockhoff
Discipline: Snowboard Cross aka Boardercross
DOB: 12th January 1993
Birth place: Melbourne, Australia
Home town: Melbourne, Australia
Coach: Harald Benselin
Sponsors: Toyota, Bridgestone, Tempur and GymClick Media, Mark Adams Real Estate, Bolle, Oxess Snowboards, XTM, XION Protective Gear, Reebok, GoPro