JACK Gower’s dad Richard had no idea what he let himself in for when his son called him at the start of the 2020-2021 ski season to ask for some help.
Covid had made life difficult on the international circuit where teams were tightly constrained to their own bubble and Jack’s arrangement to join a training group had suddenly fallen through.
“I asked him to come out just to help me one weekend, but it ended up being a whole year.
Gower (27), who switched from GB to represent Ireland last summer, won the world junior title at giant slalom when he was only 16.
Representing Ireland has provided him the free agency to find a new coach and training group ahead of Olympic qualification and he is delighted with his new set-up.
He has been reunited with his former coach, Canadian Christian Hillier who helped him win that World Junior title in Crans Montana a decade ago.
“We are training with the Swiss Ski Team (second tier) and being able to do that is one of the brilliant things about being Irish.”
Home is Chichester, on England’s south coast but Gower’s late grandmother (her maiden name was Swayne) was born in Dublin and raised in Skibbereen where she met his grandfather.
“He was visiting Cork with the British Navy and when they married they got posted to Chile. That’s where my dad was born but he and all my uncles and aunts spent their summers in Skibbereen.”
His sporty family includes David Gower, the legendary British cricket player and commentator. “He’s my dad’s first cousin but we’ve always called him ‘Uncle David.’”
He has been ranked as high as 38th in the world Super-G rankings and has won prestigious titles like the US Nationals and the 2017 South American Cup which he likens to the equivalent of Formula Two “because all the top World Cup skiers use it for pre-season training.”
“I love the freedom of going fast, I love competing and we do it in incredibly beautiful places all around the world. I also love thinking about how I can improve. It’s a lot of fun.”
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