Fearless 22-year-old Steph Magiros has always wanted to be an Olympian – she just wasn’t sure how.
The most obvious choice seemed to be gymnastics. As a talented junior the Sydney native achieved enormous success at a national level. Twisting, flipping, spinning and landing on mats and beams was part of her childhood.
Just five years ago Magiros tried snowboarding for the first time, and, as her dad Harry Magiros fondly recalls, it was a light-bulb moment.
“One day she came home and said ‘Dad I know how I want to go to the Olympics’. She showed me a video of Torah Bright going down the half pipe and I said – yes that looks like gymnastics, you can do that,” he says.
It was a realization that has unlocked her Olympic dream. For the last few years Magiros has searched the globe, hunting powder to refine her skills on the half pipe.
It’s been a steep learning curve for the 150 centimetre snowboarder. A dislocated shoulder, a few concussions- but “thankfully none recently,” Steph is always keen to point out.
Spending nine months of the year overseas in Vale, Perisher, and Cardrona has been testing for both athlete and parents. Her family dread the late night phone calls.
“It’s heart-wrenching sometimes, being on the other side of the world,” Harry Magiros says.
And Steph occasionally feels the distance to be overwhelming.
“It is hard sometimes. When I get down I jump on Skype and talk to them. I try to just get it out of my system and finish that day and focus on the new one,” she says.
Amongst all the challenges there have been plenty of highlights – carrying the flag at the World Championships in Quebec, placing in the top 10 in Park City at the 2013 World Cup and landing her first Switch Inverted 720 in competition are all fond memories.
But the ultimate rush is when she’s in the half pipe.
“It is amazing, it feels just like flying.”
In just her first tilt at an Olympics the diminutive snowboarder is hoping to soar all the way into the Australian team in Sochi.
With the top four females set to go through and Magiros currently ranked third, she has a great chance of advancing. Her mother Helen Magiros, is doing everything she can to get her there.
“She is sitting pretty at the moment. We are just keeping up her training, keeping her healthy, strong and in one piece. The spot should be hers.”
Magiros will find out in January if she has achieved her dream of representing her country at an Olympics.
Name: Steph Magiros
Years active: Five
Event: Half Pipe (Women)
Lives: Vail, Cadrona, Perisher, Sans Souci