James looks to follow in Ennis’ golden footsteps

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Hope Valley Freestyle skier James Machon isn’t short of inspiration as he prepares to make his Olympic debut in Sochi.

Machon, who is from Sheffield but resides in the Hope Valley, says he dreams of emulating another athlete from his home city.

He said: “What Jess Ennis did at London 2012 still gives me goosebumps.

“To have all that pressure on her, everyone was expecting her win, and to win an Olympic gold like that, it was just incredible.

“She is my role model and my sporting hero, and it helps that she is from Sheffield also.”

Four-time British champion Machon, who attended Bamford Primary School, insists that having fellow Sheffielders James Woods and Katie Summerhayes as teammates has also helped him prepare for his big moment in Russia.

The trio all trained together at the Sheffield Ski Village, where they honed their sporting skills.

The 23-year-old, who competes in the men’s ski halfpipe event on Tuesday (February 18), added: “We’re all from the same place and we’re all on the same journey.

“It’s great to have a group and be part of a British team.

“We travel and stay together and we’re friends.”

Machon was sidelined for most of last year after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament - a potentially career-threatening injury.

Now he says he is determined to seize his chance and make a big impression on the world stage.

He added: “It has been my dream to be an Olympian since I was young and I’m now in the best shape I’ve ever been in.”

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