Kelly Sildaru has been named Estonian female “Athlete of the Year” for 2022 after the most successful season of her young career, making this the second time she has claimed the award after also winning in 2019.
Sildaru’s greatest feat of the year came at the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games in China, where she earned her first Olympic medal when won the bronze in slopestyle, finishing behind gold medallist Mathilde Gremaud (SUI) and silver winner Eileen Gu (CHN). Sildaru also finished just off the Olympic halfpipe podium in fourth place.
As well as the Olympic hardware, Sildaru also had an exceptional World Cup season, winning three-of-three slopestyle competitions entered to claim her first career crystal globe while also finishing in second on the Freeski overall World Cup rankings behind Gu.
Sildaru also claimed first place at the 2022 X Games in ski superpipe.
“This award has a different meaning for me than the first one,” said the 20-year-old Sildaru, “When I got my first award, I was so young that maybe I couldn't understand its meaning or significance. It was the same with the Olympics. Although I couldn't go to the Olympics in 2018, when I think back on it, at that moment I didn't understand how big and important the Olympics were. Now I understand these things completely differently.”
So far in 2022/23 the Sildaru has picked right back up where she left off last winter, with a second-place finish in the Stubai slopestyle World Cup and a third place result at the Copper Mountain halfpipe World Cup just before the holiday break.
One of the few true triple threats in freeskiing on either the women’s or the men’s side, Sildaru is one of the few members of the elite all-three-top-three club on the FIS Freeski World Cup, as she has claimed a World Cup podium spot in halfpipe, slopestyle and big air in her career.
Congratulations to Kelly on the well-deserved honour!