The next Winter Olympic Games is now only one year away. In February 2022, athletes from Team GB will take part in a series of challenging sporting events in Beijing, with the hope that they’ll be walking (or skiing) away with a coveted gold medal.
In 2018, chef de mission Mike Hay said the aim for the next Olympic games was to get Team GB onto the top-15 scoreboard. Great Britain has won 26 medals across all the Winter Olympic Games, ten of which were gold. There is a clear motivation to add to this number with considerable effort next year, especially in the skiing sports by building on the success of Isabel Atkin who was the first Brit to take home a medal in the skiing category for her participation and skill in slopestyle freestyle skiing.
Whether making their impact in the Olympic history books or making a major cultural contribution, some British skiers are hugely influential. They can get us hooked into the sport or inspire us to book for the next gap year ski season. Either way, some British athletes are recognised as national heroes for their performance and perseverance in the incredibly competitive sport.
In total, there have been 240 athletes that have represented Great Britain in skiing and snowboarding events, including Alpine Skiing, Biathlon, and Nordic Combined. Using Google search data, we can analyse which of these athletes, historic and modern, maintain the most average searches per month. In addition, we have also tracked the number of monthly visits to each athlete’s dedicated Wikipedia page, to see which Olympians are being researched the most. With the winter Olympics approaching, which skiing athlete is generating the most conversation? Taking a look at which Olympic skiers we search and research the most, we reveal the top five Team GB skiers that influence the public.
5. Charles Palmer-Tomkinson
This Olympic skier is known for his royal connections. After competing in the 1964 Winter Olympics in Innsbruck, Austria, Charles Palmer-Tomkinson became close friends with Prince Charles in the 1970s. Palmer-Tomkinson subsequently became the ski instructor to the Prince of Wales, accompanying him on skiing holidays to Switzerland. This Olympian was also involved in a skiing accident with the prince, which has been depicted in Netflix’s latest season of The Crown. However, both were safe.
Charles Palmer-Tomkinson achieved an influence score of 10.9, which may be largely thanks to Netflix enthusiasts researching his history and royal influence.
4. Katie Summerhayes
Summerhayes first performed at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games at only 18 years of age. She finished seventh as a freestyle skier but dominated the Junior World Championships in Italy only two months later. With an influence score of 12.2, it’s clear that people are interested in seeing this Olympian do well in the future. An inspiration for young people looking to get into skiing, Katie shares her love of skiing to over 10,000 followers on Instagram.
3. Noel Harrison
Noel Harrison was more than just a hit on the slopes. This member of the British Olympic skiing team was an accomplished actor and singer too. Most notable known for his top-ten single The Windmills of Your Mind, Harrison also competed at the 1952 and 1956 Winter Olympics on the giant slalom. Although he didn’t take home a medal at these events, he did become the UK’s first giant-slalom champion at a 1953 event. Even then, his achievements are still generating conversation, with the British public searching for the singing skier around 2,900 times every month.
2. Chemmy Alcott
Chemmy Alcott has an impressive résumé. The former World Cup alpine ski racer has competed in all five disciplines of competitive alpine skiing. These include the slalom, giant slalom, super-G, downhill, and combined. This British champion has competed at four Winter Olympic Games. In the 2006 Torino Games, she finished 11th in the downhill competition, making it the best Olympic performance by a British skier since 1968. With an influence score of 50.6, Alcott continues to promote women in skiing and the benefits of the sport.
1. Eddie the Eagle
It should come as a surprise to no one that Eddie the Eagle has taken the top spot of the most influential British Olympic skier. In 1988, Michael Edwards became the first person to represent Great Britain in Olympic ski jumping since 1928. Despite coming last in both the 70m and 90m events, Edwards secured his place in the history books and in the hearts of the public. Interestingly, his efforts secured him the British ski jumping record, which was not beaten until 2001. Topping both the search and research scores, Eddie the Eagle achieved an influence score of 100. Inspiring a biographical film starring Taron Egerton, Eddie the Eagle is a symbol of persevering to achieve your dreams.
|Top 10 Most Influential British Olympic Skiers|
|Rank||Olympic Skier||Sport||Influence Score|
|1||Eddie the Eagle||Ski jumping||100.0|
|2||Chemmy Alcott||Alpine disciplines||50.6|
|3||Noel Harrison||Giant slalom||21.2|
|5||Charles Palmer-Tomkinson||Giant slalom and Downhill||10.9|
|6||Alain Baxter||Slalom discipline||8.6|
|7||Aimee Fuller||Slopestyle snowboard||8.3|
|8||Alex Mapelli-Mozzi||Giant Slalom and Downhill||5.2|
|9||Andrew Musgrave||Cross country||4.5|
|10||Michel de Carvalho||Alpine skiing||4.1|
With the next Winter Olympic Games in sight, we should anticipate a growing success for Team GB. There is certainly room on the medal table for our British skiers, but their performances do not go unappreciated. Continuing to compete in their events and inspire people everywhere to slip on some skis, these Olympians are incredibly influential. Who knows? Maybe one day, you could be representing the country on the alpine slopes.