Spencer O’Brien competes in the Women’s Snowboard SlopeStyle Final during X Games Aspen 2016. (Photo by Eddie Perlas / ESPN Images)

O’Brien ready for Pyeongchang Games

Courtenay’s Spencer O’Brien finished the 2012/13 season ranked number two in the World Snowboard Tour’s slopestyle rankings. She was a medal hopeful for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics but was waylaid by rheumatoid arthritis in late-2013. Despite the setback, she advanced to the Olympic final and placed 12th.

O’Brien will get another crack at an Olympic medal as part of Canada’s slopestyle/big air team at the 2018 Pyeongchang Games, which kick off next week in South Korea.

“I’m such a different person now than I was in 2014, and my circumstances going into the Games are so much different,” O’Brien said by email. “I learned a lot about perseverance and what I’m capable of during those Olympics, and I think that experience and knowledge is going to serve me well going into Korea. I feel really content with where I’m at and what I want to achieve.”

Though there’s a chance the arthritis could flare up, she is more or less symptom-free after finding the right medication.

O’Brien kicked off this season with a Dew Tour win, December in Breckenridge, Colo. Last month, she was with her teammates at a camp in Whistler. She also spent a weekend at Mount Cain before heading to the X Games, but bruised her heel and could not compete. But she says she’ll be “fine for the Games.”

In 2016, O’Brien won slopestyle gold in Aspen for her sixth career X Games medal. Another career highlight was winning the 2012 world championships.

“Also landing my run at X in 2015,” she said. “I didn’t end up on the podium but it was one of my favourite runs I’ve ever landed in competition.”

O’Brien was born in Alert Bay, grew up in Courtenay and now resides in East Vancouver. She learned to ski at three years of age at Mount Cain, and continued at Mount Washington when her family moved to Courtenay. She learned to snowboard at 11 — and never looked back.

“It was so great to grow up on the island, it’s such a special place to me. Mount Washington has so much great terrain and it shaped me into the rider I am today.”

Besides snowboarding, O’Brien is involved with the Alliance for Climate Education, which helps educate youth about climate change and what they can do to help.

“I’ve spoken at a few schools on their behalf. It’s such a powerful message, and one that I think is so important for future generations to learn at a young age.”

O’Brien is also involved with Nike N7, a program to promote health and wellness in Aboriginal communities.

The big air women’s competition starts Feb. 19 in Pyeongchang. The finals are Feb. 23.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Collaborative Perseverance Creek land purchase expands Cumberland Community Forest

Submitted to The Record A major land purchase for the Cumberland Community… Continue reading

Comox Valley Toy Library is re-opening

The Comox Valley Toy Library is re-opening on Saturday, Oct. 3 from… Continue reading

Comox Valley family a second-generation YANA family

It was early on a fall morning that Amber Van Der Mark… Continue reading

Sewer pipe inspections at various locations in Courtenay over the next few weeks

A contractor will be inspecting sewer pipes in Courtenay starting Sept. 29… Continue reading

YANA’s ability to adjust on the fly a huge stress relief for the Szabos family

Organization provided support for Wes, 4, and his family

Weekend sees 267 cases, 3 deaths in B.C.; Dr. Henry says events leading to COVID spread

There are currently 1,302 active cases in B.C., while 3,372 people are under public health monitoring

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Lightning strike: Tampa Bay blanks Dallas 2-0 to win Stanley Cup

Hedman wins Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP

Shawnigan Lake’s Kubica gets 25 to life for murder in California

Former Shawnigan Lake man convicted of killing woman in 1990

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Liberals seek to fast track new COVID-19 aid bill after CERB expires

Government secured NDP support for legislation by hiking amount of benefits by $100 to $500 per week

B.C. VOTES 2020: Echoes of HST in B.C. debate over sales tax

Cannabis, tobacco, luxury cars still taxed in B.C. Liberal plan

She warned her son about toxic drugs, then he was dead

Donna Bridgman’s son died at the age of 38 in Vancouver

Duration of Tour de Rock stop in Chemainus much shorter than usual

Four alumni riders don’t get to come for breakfast in COVID year

Most Read