An 18-year-old member of the Łı́ı́dlı̨ı̨ Kų́ę́ First Nation in Fort Simpson, is going to the 2022 winter Olympics in Beijing to compete in the men’s snowboard halfpipe event.
Liam Gill, who is from Calgary, was an alternate on the team but will now get the chance to compete. He is replacing Derek Livingston from Ontario after Livingston got injured during a recent training run, according to a Monday press release from Canada Snowboard.
“I woke up to the news and I didn’t know how to feel,” Gill is quoted as saying.
“I had totally given up on any hope of going and hadn’t even packed my stuff. I am stoked to be going. I have a few runs up my sleeve and really want to make it count.”
Gill said he had hoped to attend the games with Livingston.
“Derek is an idol of mine who has pretty much brought me through the past few years,” he said. “When I thought about going to the games, I wanted to go with Derek.”
Gill will be the second-youngest and only Indigenous member of Canada’s snowboarding team in Beijing.
“Gill is a proud descendant of a long line of Dene people from the Northwest Territories and represents the Dehcho Dene as a member of the Łı́ı́dlı̨ı̨ Kų́ę́ First Nation,” his Team Canada Olympic profile reads.
According to Gill’s Team Canada Olympic profile, he began snowboarding at age four and started competing the following year.
He has represented Canada at the 2020 Winter Youth Olympic Games where he finished eighth in the big air category, 11 in slopestyle, and 13 in halfpipe.
From there, Gill was selected to be on the slopestyle and halfpipe junior national teams from 2020-2021. During the past year, he was on the halfpipe senior national team.
The snowboard halfpipe event at this year’s Olympics will take place from February 9 to 11 at Genting Snow Park in Zhangjiakou.