TJ Baldwin stands out from the GB skiing crowd – but now he needs help
Norfolk's TJ Baldwin was the stand out performer at the British Alpine Ski Championships held in Meribel, France last week.
He won four out of six events and also took second place in another, with the races held over the 1992 Olympic courses and more than 100 competitors from around Europe taking part.
The 18-year-old from Tharston put in an almost flawless run to beat all his British rivals in the men's senior super-G event to win by a commanding 1.8 seconds – it was his first ever British senior title.
He also took second place in the international event, missing out on gold by just 0.04s.
TJ was first off in the downhill and set a time that no one could match for his second British championship, and it was also quick enough to win international gold, beating skiers from 18 other nations.
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'I feel great to have won both the speed events,' said TJ. 'I skied pretty well in tricky conditions. I was pretty confident that I could win before the races, especially after coming 38th at the World Champs last month, but to win two senior titles in my first year as a senior is brilliant.
'To see the greatest names in British skiing on the trophies gave me a real buzz.'
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TJ went on to claim victory in the super combined, living up to his billing as British number one in this event, and also second place in the slalom championships.
'I was really pleased with how well I skied in the slalom part of the super combined,' he added. 'So I took a huge amount of confidence from that into the slalom championships.
'Before the race I'd only done three full Slalom races all season and failed to finish them all, so it was even more satisfying.'
The final day of the senior championships was the giant slalom, in which TJ was again ranked as British number one.
The race was held on the very demanding and long Europa Cup course, a fitting test for the British championships.
Things were going really well during the race with TJ skiing a superb run where he was around half a second ahead at the top of the final pitch.
Then disaster struck, when his binding ripped from his ski in the middle of a turn, which made it impossible for him to carry on.
'I'm really gutted about the GS,' said Baldwin. 'I felt something go and my ski was almost uncontrollable. My rear binding had just torn completely out of the ski, so there was nothing I could do.
'It happened so near the end of the run too. I've seen it happen occasionally, but it's the first time I've ever had equipment failure.'
Having won three tiltes and come second in the other, TJ had built up enough points to win the Overall Combined Trophy in the men's championship and also the coveted Victor Ludorum Trophy as the best male or female at the championships.
Despite winning all these British titles, and his British and world rankings, TJ is now having to frantically search for about �15,000 of sponsorship to enable him to compete with the GB team next year.
During the previous few months he has lost two sponsors and had a reduction in a grant.
For more information or to help out TJ, visit www.tj-ski.com or email him at Baldwin.firstname.lastname@example.org