Five Questions With…Elena Hight
With a last name a perfect fit for her personal riding style, Elena Hight is one of the best snowboarders in the business. A two-time Olympian, Elena first hopped on a snowboard at age six and hasn’t ever looked back. The 23-year-old, set to compete this weekend at Winter X 2013, ESPN’s perennial action sports showcase, has also joined the WSF Athlete Advisory Panel just this month. As a member, Elena will act as the face and voice of the Foundation by promoting our mission, attending our events and spreading the word about us to fellow athletes, to her sponsors and to her fans. Most importantly, Athlete Advisory Panels members are the eyes and ears of all female athletes, telling us what work needs to be done and giving us insight into how we can continue to help.
We sat down with Elena last week to talk Winter X and Olympics, her new role with the Foundation and why our mission matters to her. Women’s Sports Foundation:
Winter X Games is right around the corner. What do you most look forward about the event every year? Elena Hight:
There is no other event like X Games. I get excited for it every year just because of the stature and magnitude of the entire competition. It’s so awesome to get all these great athletes together and pair it with the great energy that is always at the X Games. My favorite part of the entire weekend is definitely the actual half pipe. They do such an amazing job building the course and that half pipe is by far the best in the world. So, it’s really fun to get into a perfect half pipe and train and compete against the best snowboarders out there. WSF:
Already a two-time Olympian, your name is definitely on the shortlist for a spot on the Sochi 2014 snowboarding team. If you live up to those expectations, how will it feel to compete for the third time for Team USA? What is your favorite Olympic moment? EH:
It would be amazing to make my third Olympic team and it’s definitely my main goal right now. There is no other event like the Olympics and to be able to go and represent my country again would be a huge honor.
The Opening Ceremonies in 2006 in Torino, Italy, are something I will never, ever forget. I had no idea what I was getting into! As soon as I walked out for the March with the rest of Team USA, it was like nothing I had ever experienced before. There almost isn’t any way to describe it – so overwhelming and so inspiring. Even walking in the Opening Ceremonies in 2010 in Vancouver wasn’t quite like Torino because then I had an idea of what it would be like. The Torino Opening Ceremonies is a day I will hold dear to my heart forever. WSF:
You are a newly-appointed member of the WSF Athlete Advisory Panel. What does it mean to you to be on the inside track of influencers within the Foundation? Do you already have goals for your new role? EH:
I’m really excited to be a part of the Women’s Sports Foundation Athlete Advisory Panel. I think that the WSF is such a great organization and I am really looking forward to bouncing ideas of my fellow Panel members. I just want to be able to give back to younger girls and inspire them. I have tons of ideas for things I want to do – I can’t wait to get started. WSF:
You attended the WSF Annual Salute to Women in Sports in October. What was your favorite thing about the dinner? EH:
Bringing so many influential women together for the Annual Salute is so powerful. It was really, really cool for me to meet some of the summer Olympians that were in attendance this year. Us athletes get very caught up in our own sports and responsibilities a lot of the time and we just don’t get the chance to meet athletes in other sports. It was so cool to be able to connect and share stories and just laugh with women with whom I have so much in common.
What I loved the most about the Annual Salute is that I made some friendships that I think will be lasting. We all keep in touch with each other and that’s definitely the best part of attending the Annual Salute. WSF:
Why is our mission important to you? EH:
I was lucky enough to have sports in my life from a very young age. It really shaped who I am – sports gave me a lot of confidence, something to aspire to and goals to set and work toward. Sports gave me a path in life. I think that is what is most important to me – being able to share my experience with other girls, whether they make the Olympics or just feel joy from competing.
In today’s world, there are so many wrong choices for girls, so many negative things to get into. It’s so empowering for girls to have something positive to focus on. Sports create such a strong sense of self and that is something that can’t be replaced by anything else. Learn more about our Athlete Advisory Panel here.