She took the record for the most combined World Cup and World Championships medals in British history last year. So, what’s next for Britain’s Telemark superstar Jasmin Taylor?
How does a Colchester-born young woman who got their first taste of skiing at a dry slope in Suffolk come to hold the record for the most combined World Cup and World Championships medals of any British skier in history? For Britain’s Telemark superstar, Jasmin Taylor, it started out not with regular skiing holidays, or a family history of racing, but with a primary school project.
“In my last year of primary school we were assigned a project on mountains,” she explains. “My parents noticed my fascination and my dad took me to the local dry ski slope in Ipswich for ski lessons.”
The impact was transformational.
“I would live for Saturday mornings when I could ski again. It all started there.”
What started was a journey that has seen Taylor rise to the upper reaches of the notoriously challenging Telemark discipline. For the uninitiated, it’s a sport that blends elements of Alpine, Nordic and Ski Jump techniques. It’s near unique combination of skills requires both technical excellence and physical exertion. Sadly, it also suffers from a lack of public exposure, an issue which has nagged at Taylor throughout her career.
“It’s just so great to watch. The atmosphere within the sport is electric, and the Telemark spirit is magic. I’d love for it to get more coverage.” It’s a challenge she’s noted on numerous occasions since making her World Cup debut in 2011, as a 17-year-old, and she’s on record in her desire for the discipline to be added to the Winter Olympic calendar.
Those hopes took a sizeable blow in May 2018, when the IOC voted against a proposal that would have seen the sport added to the 2022 Beijing Games roster. Does she still believe that Telemark could be included in the Olympic programme during her career? “No, I don’t so, though you never know,” she says. “When I set out as a Telemark skier, I believed it could be. But now, I see this quest as a longer-term project.”
There’s a definite sense of sadness to that point, not least because for British fans, Taylor would represent a real medal hope in the Olympic environment. Indeed, since 2012 there’s only been one season in which she didn’t feature on at least one podium during the season, a level of consistency she puts down to an innate sense of perfectionism that she describes as unfortunate.
“I am a perfectionist, unfortunately, so actually the challenge for me is letting go and accepting that life is unpredictable and, to some extent, uncontrollable.”
That perfectionism was a big factor earlier in Taylor’s career where, by her own admission, she was “quite dismissive of my own basic needs, and not having much patience when I was ill or injured”, but recognises now that as she’s matured, she’s developed a healthier approach to her skiing. “I would like to think I’m fitter, stronger, more technically refined, and better able to cope with the pressures of the sport,” she says. “I definitely take better care of myself these days, and I’m pleased to have changed that now.”
The results of that healthier approach? Five World Cup gold medals, nine World Cup silvers, and an astonishing 19 World Cup bronzes as well as a pair in World Championships. Her total medal count: an astonishing 35 medals, making her the most successful World Cup and World Championships skier in British history. As she approaches her 30s, is there anything left to achieve?
Her response is unequivocal.
“I would love to be the very best in the world. I still feel I have a lot to give, and I can’t see my motivation changing until I know I’ve done absolutely everything in my power to be the best I can be.”
If Jasmin Taylor’s career to date is anything to go by, she’s going to be a very difficult woman to stop.
Jasmin Taylor Biography
- Born: 1993
- Discipline: Telemark
- Squad: World Cup Squad
- Hometown: Colchester, England
- Top Results: World Cup Victories in Suicide Six Ski Resort (Sprint, USA, 2018), Sugarbush Resort (Classic, USA, 2018), Kravec (Parallel Sprint, SLO, 2018), Murren/Schilthorn (Parallel Spring, SUI, 2018), Pralognan-la-Vanoise (Sprint, FRA, 2018)
Header Image: Jasmin Taylor, World Cup WARM UP in Oberjoch by FIS Telemark