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IOM Sport Aid Academy's inspiring guest Manx Olympic Snowboarder Zoe Gillings-Brier

Fresh from her record-breaking fourth Winter Olympics, a Manx Olympian has given some of the Island’s most promising young athletes an insight into life at the top of her sport.

Zoe commented: ‘It was very rewarding to speak to some of our young sporting talent and not only tell them about how my career has progressed but also hear their own individual stories and how they are developing.

‘Creating the right home and sporting environment and the importance of family support cannot be underestimated and many of these young people will no doubt find themselves in scenarios similar to those I encountered growing up and during the early stages of my sporting life.

‘I was extremely impressed by the eagerness among the athletes, as well as parents and coaches, to make the most of this opportunity and really take the messages to heart.

‘If some of what I had to say can benefit them in the future, then it is extremely worthwhile.’


Zoe, who has achieved seven World Cup podiums and won first place at the South American World Cup in 2004, also brought her mum Jill and brother Jon to speak to the Academy athletes.

She added: ‘Whatever path these young athletes take, you can’t progress in your chosen sport without wholehearted encouragement and that is why I wanted them to hear from other family members to understand the level of commitment which is required from a wider perspective.’

Zoe’s talk and workshop, attended by almost 100 people including parents and coaches, also provided insight and advice into a number of important topics, including:

  • Overcoming setbacks, disappointments and injuries
  • Dealing with sponsors, finance and business 
  • How parents deal with their children leaving home to pursue their sport

Mark Reynolds, Director at Newfield, added: ‘Zoe is one of the best ambassadors for the Isle of Man and Isle of Man Sport and she has had to overcome many challenges to reach the highest level in her field.

‘It was highly rewarding to see how engaged the young athletes were at the workshop.’


The Sport Aid Academy, which is funded by SMP Partners and Newfield in partnership with Isle of Man Sport, was an ambitious project launched in 2015.



Posted on 27th April 2018

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