Watch: Boy, 13, turns garden into ski jump in hope of making Winter Olympics
A schoolboy has started practising ski jumping in his garden in the hope of making it to the 2026 Winter Olympics.
George Brown, 13, and his dad Stuart have converted their back yard in Moseley, Birmingham, into a winter gym complete with a mini ski jump on the back steps.
The teenager is now the country’s top skier in the under-14 category after switching from gymnastics when he was nine.
George said: “I’m trying to imitate as best as I can the things I can't actually do at the moment like ski on slopes.”
George added: "I’m mostly trying to work on my main muscle groups and trying to develop the strength where I don't have it so that I can prepare myself for when I can actually ski again.
"I do miss competing a lot because that's what we train for.”
He has set his sights on the 2026 Winter Olympics, where he hopes to emulate Eddie Edwards, who captured the nation's imagination 33 years ago.
Edwards was the first competitor in 60 years to represent Britain in Olympic ski jumping.
He finished last out of 73 jumpers in the 1988 Winter Olympics but made headlines around the world with his wide grin and comically large glasses.
Edwards’s story was even made into the movie Eddie The Eagle in 2016, with Taron Egerton in the title role and Hugh Jackman as his coach.
Despite living in the Midlands with no mountains, George is leading the National Schools League, run by the National Schools Snowsports Association, both in his U14 age group and the overall competition.
His gruelling weekly training regime involves more than 16 hours of gymnastics, four and a half hours of dry-slope skiing and circuits of his home gym in the garden.
He eats 10,000 calories per week more than the average child of his age to fuel his training.
Stuart, 46, who runs a catering company, believes his son first got the taste for skiing after he and wife Jocelyn, 42, bought him plastic skis when he was just 18 months old.
He said: “His first ski holiday was in his mum’s belly and then at 18 months we went out for the first time with him on plastic skis.
“He loved it and would go ‘ski, ski, ski’.”
Stuart added: “Before lockdown there wasn’t anything improvised, but since lockdown a lot of his training has stopped.
“We have set up circuits in the garden with a combination of skiing and gymnastics movements.
“Since it snowed we even turned the back steps into a mini ski slope which has at least given him a taste of the real thing.”
Watch: Hugh Jackman and Taron Egerton on Eddie The Eagle