Jindy Central shines as ex-students seek Games glory

Former NSW public school students will represent Australia at the Winter Olympics with Jindabyne Central School leading the way. Glenn Cullen reports.

A snowboarder on snow A snowboarder on snow
Image: On board: Former JCS student and World Cup medallist Adam Lambert is featuring at his second Winter Olympics. Photo: Steve Cuff/Snowy Mountains Magazine.

Jindabyne Central School (JCS) is firming its reputation as Winter Olympian central with three of its former students to feature in the Australian team for the Beijing Games.

Adam Lambert and Josie Baff (snowboard cross) and Abi Harrigan (ski halfpipe) were selected in the 43-person team for the event starting today.

The trio will be joined by world champion moguls skier Britt Cox, who also spent some time at the school as well as up-and-coming talent Cooper Woods who honed his skills in the area after being based on the south coast.

Amongst the biggest Kindergarten to Year 12 public education facilities in the state, JCS also has the most former students of any school in Australia in the team.

About 30km from the NSW ski resorts of Perisher and Thredbo, JCS is something of a breeding ground for Games talent with the likes of former Winter Olympians Scott Kneller, Nicole Parks and Manuela Berchtold also attending the school.

A group of people wearing snow gear sitting along a table. A group of people wearing snow gear sitting along a table.
Image: Jindabyne Central School teacher Paul Livissianos (rear) is a judge for moguls and aerials in Beijing.

But it’s not just the students who shine.

Ex-staff member Kristian Sandercoe won silver in Super G at the Special Olympics Winter Games in 2017 while current Geography/PE teacher and Snowsports Coordinator Paul Livissianos will be a judge at the moguls and aerials events in Beijing.

JCS Principal Michael Kowalewski said the school had a proud history of academic, cultural and sporting success that inspired future generations.

“Over many years, the school has facilitated pathways for students to participate and achieve in snow sports, from our own snow sports programs which begin in Kindergarten and go through to Year 10, to participating in regional, state, and national Interschools,” he said of the school which has produced national skiing and snowboarding champions.

“JCS provides support for these athletes through flexibility in school attendance, provision of online and remote learning and additional individualised tutoring and we also support other elite athletes who enrol at the school during winter.”

He said with plans under way for the primary and high school campuses to move to the Jindabyne Recreation Centre grounds, immediately adjacent to the National Snow Sports Training Centre, more opportunities would become available.

“The world-class training facilities on the school's doorstep will further strengthen the links between education and training for athletes. With so much talent coming through the school in the junior ranks, we are certainly looking forward to a very bright and successful future in the snow sports arena," he said.

While a mountain town such as Jindabyne unsurprisingly captures plenty of talent, there’s strong public-school representation from the rest of the state too.

Valentino Guseli, who attended Narooma Public School, will head to his first Games at just 16 years of age and is considered a star of the not-too-distant future.

The halfpipe rider shocked the snowboarding fraternity by qualifying first at a World Cup event at just 15 in Switzerland, with good judges expecting medal performances in the years to come.

Elsewhere, former Mosman High School student Sami Kennedy Sim will head to her third Games in the ski cross while Matthew Cox (ex-Coffs Harbour High School) tackles the snowboard slopestyle and big air competitions.


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