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Ben Tudhope

Ben Tudhope

Snowboard | Alpine Skiing

Ben Tudhope is having the best season of his young career. The 19-year-old has been on fire since coming off his second Paralympic Game at PyeongChang 2018, where he took top-10 finishes in both snowboard-cross and banked slalom races.

Tudhope won both banked slalom races at the World Cup season opener in Dubai, UAE. It was the teenager’s first career win on the World Para Snowboard circuit. Further podium finishes this season have positioned him for a medal in the men’s SB-LL2 category at the 2019 World Championships in Pyha, Finland.

Tudhope was arguably one of the biggest surprises of Sochi 2014, where he was only 15 years old. He finished among the top 10 riders in the men’s snowboard-cross despite being the youngest competitor, a performance that earned him the role of flag bearer for Australia at the Closing Ceremony.

Tudhope just missed his first podium finish in the 2016-17 season, taking fourth in snowboard-cross at the PyeongChang 2018 Test Event.

He was invited to compete at the 2015 Winter X Games in Aspen, USA, where he finished 11th in the Snowboarder X Adaptive event. The following year, he reached the podium with third.

He took up snowboarding at age eight after his sister Annabel, who competed on the World Snowboard Tour. His other sister Phoebe competed for Australia in moguls.

Biography

Impairment information

Type of Impairment
Cerebral Palsy
Origin of Impairment
Congenital
Classification
SB-LL2

Further personal information

Residence
Sydney, NSW, AUS
Occupation
Athlete
Languages
English
Higher education
Sports Management - University of Technology Sydney: Australia

Sport specific information

When and where did you begin this sport?
He first learnt to ski at age three before switching to snowboarding in 2009 at Mount Hotham, VIC, Australia.
Why this sport?
His parents would take the family to the snow during holidays, and he was introduced to snowboarding by his sister Annabel. "[Our] parents loved the snow when I was young and my family would always go on holidays to the snow. I love the adrenaline it gives you. You always feel pumped on a snowboard ready to do anything that comes in your way. Competing really just came with snowboarding. I didn't really set out one day and say I want to compete."
Club / Team
New South Wales Institute of Sport [AUS] / Team Unicorn [FIN]:
Name of coach
Par Sundqvist [Team Unicorn], SWE
Training Regime
He trains for three hours a day on average.

International debut

Year
2013
Competing for
Australia

General interest

Nicknames
Benny, Tuddy (Athlete, 18 Jun 2016)
Hobbies
Board sports, freeriding, hiking. (bouncefoods.com, 10 Oct 2017; Athlete, 18 Jun 2016)
Memorable sporting achievement
Winning the 2020/21 Crystal Globe as overall World Cup champion, and a bronze medal at the Winter X Games in 2016 in Aspen, CO, United States of America. (Athlete, 04 Mar 2022)
Most influential person in career
All his coaches past and present [Pete Higgins, Mikko Wendelin, Lu Prem and Par Sundqvist]. (Athlete, 04 Mar 2022)
Hero / Idol
Australian Para snowboarder Matthew Robinson, Finnish snowboarder and coach Mikko Wendelin. (Athlete, 18 Jun 2016)
Superstitions / Rituals / Beliefs
"[Wearing] Star Wars socks on race day." (Athlete, 04 Mar 2022)
Sporting philosophy / motto
"If you want something bad enough, then you adapt. No matter how much it hurts physically and emotionally." (bouncefoods.com, 10 Oct 2017)
Awards and honours
In 2020 and 2021 he received the Paralympic Athlete of the Year Award from Snow Australia. (nswis.com.au, 30 Apr 2021; snow.org.au, 12 May 2020)

He was named 2019 Young Athlete of the Year with a Disability at the New South Wales Sports Awards in Australia. (snow.org.au, 19 Nov 2019)

He was Australia's flag bearer at the closing ceremony of the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi. (paralympic.org, 16 Mar 2014)
Milestones
At age 14 years and 91 days he became the youngest athlete to represent Australia at the Paralympic Winter Games when he competed at the 2014 Games in Sochi. He was also the youngest athlete from any nation to compete at the 2014 Games. Four years later he was again the youngest member of the Australian team at the 2018 Paralympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang. (foxsports.com.au, 06 Mar 2014; news.com.au, 16 Mar 2014; shore.nsw.edu.au, 01 Mar 2018; bentudhope.com, 01 Apr 2018; SportsDeskOnline, 19 Dec 2018)
Famous relatives
His sister Annabel has competed on the World Snowboard Tour, while his other sister Phoebe has competed for Australia in moguls in freestyle skiing. (FIS, 31 Aug 2013; worldsnowboardtour.com, 2013)
Ambitions
To compete at the Paralympic Winter Games in 2026 and 2030. (bbc.co.uk, 24 Feb 2022)
Impairment
He had a stroke while in the womb, which resulted in paralysis on the left side of his body. (Athlete, 18 Jun 2016)
Other information
TEAM UNICORN
He is a member of the international Para snowboard training group 'Team Unicorn', which is based in Finland. "After the 2018 [Paralympic Winter] Games, the Finnish coach at the time, who worked really closely with our old coach, said he'd really like to take the Aussie guys. We formed a team with Finland and a guy from Canada, who came on. It is an individual sport but we have this really special connection, being part of this international team. We bring out the best in each other and it's a true kind of brotherhood. It's a great training environment [in Finland] and it's really unique. We go by the name of Team Unicorn. It came out of nowhere but it's about the fact that we come from diverse nations and are all about diversity and inclusion. So we come together and help each other, which I think is really great." (paralympia.fi, 21 Feb 2022; Facebook page, 22 Jan 2022; paralympic.org.au, 07 Sep 2021)

COACH TRIBUTE
In November 2019, his coach Mikko Wendelin suddenly passed away one week short of the World Cup event in Pyha, Finland. He went on to win two gold medals at the event which he dedicated to Wendelin. "Everything I do out here is for him and he's in my head every step of the way telling me what to do and how to ride. I just want to make him proud." (paralympic.org, 13 May 2020)

TRIBUTE TO HERO
He has always considered late Australian Para snowboarder Matthew Robinson his role model. "I met him when I was 10 years old so it was at that crucial age of my development and I definitely learned a lot off him. He was the role model who really took me to the top level of the sport. We were teammates when I first joined the Australian Paralympic team. He was a team leader so everything that he did, we followed. He's definitely taught me a lot in my snowboarding. I love him and I love everything about him so it's great to live in his name. Every day I ride for Matty." (paralympic.org, 10 Mar 2019)

RUGBY MENTOR
In October 2017 the Sport Australia Hall of Fame [SAHOF] Scholarship and Mentoring Programme announced that he was to be mentored by former Australian rugby union player Nick Farr-Jones. "One of the areas I'm very excited about is Nick sharing his thoughts on the mechanisms of being a great athlete, how he coped with and managed competitions. He is an Australian sporting legend." (paralympic.org, 06 Oct 2017)

OTHER ACTIVITIES
In 2014 he began serving as ambassador of Cerebral Palsy Alliance in Australia. (LinkedIn profile, 01 Dec 2021; snow.org.au, 19 Nov 2019)

Results

Unit Date Rank
Paralympic Winter Games 2014 (Sochi, Russia)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Men's Para Snowboard Cross Standing Final Round 2014-03-14 10
2015 IPCAS Para Snowboard World Championships La Molina (La Molina, Spain)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Men's Snowboard Cross SB-LL2 Race 1 2015-02-24 10
Men's Banked Slalom SB-LL2 Race 1 2015-02-28 8
2017 IPC Snowboard World Championships Big White, CAN (Big White, Canada)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Men's Snowboard Cross SB-LL2 Race 1 2017-02-04 9
Men's Banked Slalom SB-LL2 Race 1 2017-02-07 8
Pyeongchang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games (Pyeongchang, South Korea)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Men's Snowboard Cross SB-LL2 Final 2018-03-12 10
Men's Banked Slalom SB-LL2 Final 2018-03-16 7
Pyha 2019 World Para Snowboard Championships (Pyha, Finland)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Men's Banked Slalom SB-LL2 Race 1 2019-03-27 4
Men's Snowboard Cross SB-LL2 Race 1 2019-03-30 2