Proud mum Stacey Wells, of Wanaka, with the tiny skis her sons learned on as toddlers. Sons (from left) Jossi, Byron and Beau-James (and above competing in the Winter Games New Zealand at Cardrona last August) and husband Bruce. Photo by Lucy Ibbotson.
The freeskiing Wells family of Wanaka has made New Zealand
Olympic history after three of its members were selected to
represent New Zealand at next month's Winter Olympics in
Stacey Wells was yesterday celebrating the news sons Jossi
(23), Byron (21) and Beau-James (18) had qualified for the
Olympic team, which also includes her husband Bruce as
It is the first time three members of one family have
competed at the same Olympics for New Zealand, and one of few
documented instances of the accomplishment in international
Youngest brother Jackson (15), who was not old enough to be
considered for Olympic qualification, has his sights set on
With her family half a world away at the X-Games in Aspen,
Colorado, when the Olympic line-up was announced yesterday
morning, Mrs Wells toasted their success with friends in
Wanaka and Skyped her congratulations.
The news was ''a bit of a culmination'' of many years of
freeski success for her sons, who had been ''pretty much on
skis since they could walk'', she said.
Freeski halfpipe and slopestyle are new Olympic sports this
year, so until now the X-Games have been the siblings' top
event on the international circuit.
''But the opportunity to be at the Olympics and represent
their country is definitely a privilege for them and they're
very excited,'' Mrs Wells said.
''It's pretty cool and they all get on so well together as
well, so ... if they don't do well they're always supporting
Recent World Cup gold medallist Jossi, who achieved his dream
of being crowned the best freeskier in the world in 2010, is
the overall freeski world No 2 and will compete in halfpipe
and slopestyle at the Olympics, as will world No 4
Byron will compete in halfpipe, in which he finished fifth at
last year's world championships.
Mrs Wells will be in Sochi to cheer on her family, but is
well practised in supporting them from afar too - watching
live computer streams of their events and speaking with them
several times a day during the months they spend training and
competing in the northern hemisphere every year.
''I don't miss too much. It doesn't matter if I have to get
up in the middle of the night.''
It was impossible to predict her sons' medal chances, as all
their opponents had appeared on a podium at some point during
the past two years, she said.
''There's so many variables that you can't control in this
sport ... it's really whose game it is on the day.
''We're hopeful. The boys are going out there well-prepared.
They're ready for it and we just hope it's their day when the
As Jackson continues to climb the world freeski ranks, it is
possible the next Winter Olympics will bring a new national
first for the Wells family - four siblings competing at once.
''If the older boys' bodies hold out for another four
Nine Otago athletes, all from Queenstown and Wanaka, were
named in the 15-strong New Zealand Olympic squad.