Shire snowboarder Magiros flying high into Sochi Olympics

GROWING up, Stephanie Magiros was a keen gymnast who represented NSW in artistic gymnastics at the National Championships in levels 7, 8, 9 and 10, winning three gold medals and a silver.

Now, a few years on — at 22 — she has gone completely upside down, putting the finishing touches before competing in her first Olympic Games — in the half pipe in snowboarding at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics in Russia.

Magiros is one determined young lady — just ask gymnastics coach Bill Parsons from the Caringbah-based NSW Academy of Gymnastics about his former student from St George Christian School, Hurstville.

Or, look at last year when her appendix almost burst and she actually contemplated going without surgery — in case she missed out on training!

"The doctor said it would take six to eight weeks to make a full recovery and I had a snowboard trip in five weeks' time," Magiros said.

"But when he explained I could die without surgery, I realised, OK."

This, after getting lost in zero visibility and being rescued in Sierra Nevada, Spain. Eight weeks after surgery she was back to full strength.

Parsons said Magiros and Amber Wing, who went on to win world titles wakeboarding, were the top of his crop a few years ago.

"Like Amber, Steph has used her aerial ability and her flexibility to giddy heights in snowboarding," he said. "In training and competition she just had it, you could see the determination to succeed."

Magiros had a stint of cheerleading, too, for the NSW State of Origin side, but has loved the snow since going there about six years ago.

She credits gymnastics for her "awareness training" when doing tricks on a snowboard.

"I switched to Halfpipe snowboarding in 2008 after competing at the Level 10 Australian Gymnastics Championships," she said yesterday from Vail, Colorado, before flying to Italy to join the Australian team.

"All my gymnastics training has been a tremendous help with my transition to halfpipe as I have such great air awareness, strength and balance which made the learning to snowboard part quite easy.

"I still train at gymnastics. After only being on a snowboard for three weeks I landed my first backflip."

A lot of her tricks are inverted, with her signature trick a Michalchuk (a backflip on the heel side wall in pipe).

Ben Boyd has been her snowboarding coach for the past three years, and she says she's learnt much from champs Torah Bright and Holly Crawford on the World Cup circuit. Bright won Australia's first Olympic gold medal and Crawford, a world title.

Magiros, 50 kilograms wringing wet (hence her nickname Munchkin), is aiming for a top 20 result in Sochi.

Already, she has managed a top 10 in Park City at the 2013 World Cup, 14th in the World Cup in Ruka, Finland, and backed it up this year with a 16th at the World Cup in Stoneham, Canada.

Do you know Stephanie Magiros? How do you think she will perform at Sochi?

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