16-year-old set to realise Olympic dream

Gustav Legnavsky. Photo: Getty Images
Gustav Legnavsky. Photo: Getty Images
Skiing is in Gustav Legnavsky’s blood.

He’s the classic Wanaka kid who grew up on a skifield and dreamed of going to the Olympics.

Until now, the youngest member of New Zealand’s Winter Olympics team to compete in Beijing had been keeping himself out of the spotlight, despite his parents, Peter and Bridget Legnavsky, having high-profile careers in New Zealand’s snow sports industry.

Gustav (16) said it was a dream come true to be selected to the freeski halfpipe team.

“It’s amazing. This time last year it was only a dream.

Gustav Legnavsky as a 2-year-old skis with his father, Peter, at Cardrona. Photo: ODT files
Gustav Legnavsky as a 2-year-old skis with his father, Peter, at Cardrona. Photo: ODT files
"It’s going to be surreal to be wearing the fern.

"I have been wanting to have the New Zealand fern on my arm and compete for my country.”

Gustav said he watched the PyeongChang 2018 Olympics as a 12-year-old and was in awe of Nico Porteous, who won a bronze medal.

“I have been 100% inspired by Nico.

"He was my age when he went to PyeongChang and did really well.

"It would be cool to keep that legacy going on,” Gustav said.

Mrs Legnavsky said Gustav — or Goosy as his family and friends call him — was raised on skis at Cardrona, where both she and her husband worked.

"He has been working on it since he was about 2 and was doing nationals well before he was 5.

"He chose it quite young and two years ago decided to specialise in halfpipe at 14, which is quite unusual.

"Goosy has been quite under the radar, but it has been his plan.

Gustav Legnavsky performs a freestyle routine at Mammoth Mountain in California. Photo: Getty Images
Gustav Legnavsky performs a freestyle routine at Mammoth Mountain in California. Photo: Getty Images
"It is time for him to burst out, which is awesome ... When you suddenly know your child is an Olympian, it is quite moving," she said.

Gustav’s sister Zora (11) said she was proud of her brother.

"I love skiing, too, but I have my dreams of performing arts," Zora said.

Peter Legnavsky, a former professional moguls skier from Slovakia, coaches his son and travels with him overseas.

In his career as a Snow Sports New Zealand coach and the Cardrona Park squad programme manager, he has set up a pathway for many freeskiers with international ambitions.

Mrs Legnavsky and Zora have not seen the male members of the family for six months.

They are in Lux, Switzerland, and Covid travel restrictions will prevent a reunion for some time.

Mr Legnavksy cannot travel to Beijing with his son because of Covid rules.

Gustav has had numerous podium finishes at FIS and European Cup halfpipe events, and this month he achieved a career-best result of eighth at the Mammoth Mountain halfpipe world cup.

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