Edinburgh’s Murray Buchan always thought that if he was starring on skis then it was going to be after following his father in becoming a mountain rescuer.
The Firrhill High School former pupil insists that he has been thinking of nothing but making his Olympic bow for the past three years – with his wishes about to come true in Sochi.
Despite admitting to hating skiing growing up, Buchan didn’t have to look far for future inspiration with his dad involved in mountain rescue.
And once he got the hang of it Buchan’s career took off and at 22 he is all set to make his Olympic bow as freestyle skiing halfpipe is included at the Games for the first time.
Buchan, right, appears to be timing his run to Sochi to perfection after he secured his best ever finish of 13th at a World Cup event in Calgary at the beginning of January. But Buchan, who is supported by the Bank of Scotland Local Heroes scheme, admits that just being part of it all – after the journey he has been on – is a success in itself. “At first I hated skiing,” he said. “My first lesson I could see all my friends on the slope and I knew that’s what I wanted to be like but I wasn’t able.
“So as soon as I started to get a few more lessons and get more involved I just fell in love with it from then on and couldn’t stop skiing. My Dad’s got quite an old-school style of skiing so I always tried to copy him when I was younger, he was my idol and I wanted to be able to ski the piste like him.
“So I learned to ski very well before I went into the halfpipe and I think that helped massively. The Olympics was never a real goal when I first started skiing.
“I never thought it [freestyle skiing halfpipe] would be at the Olympics as it was only a few years ago that it got accepted. So the X Games was the real goal. Then as soon as the Olympics got announced the focus completely changed and I zoned in knowing that was what I really wanted to do.
“And now it is here I am targeting 18th. Anything less than 18th would be disappointing.”
Before the Olympics were even in the picture for Buchan his career was thrown into some doubt after he badly injured his elbow in 2009.
But, five years on and on the eve of the biggest moment of his career, Buchan is not about to let the memories of the pain resurface and spoil his mood.
“I would never fear it [the injury] happening again, injuries are part of the sport,” he added.
“My elbow is very strong now with a lot of rehab in the gym so it’s fine. It was a tough few years and I had some big problems with it and I still feel a little niggle every now and then but nothing to get in my way –that’s for sure.”
• The British Olympic Association is the National Olympic Committee for GBR and NI. The BOA prepares the ‘Best of British’ athletes for, and leads them at, the summer, winter and youth Olympic Games. The BOA is dependent upon fundraising income to achieve its mission.