Sochi 2014: New Zealand’s Bruce Wells coaches three sons to Games berths

Sochi 2014: New Zealand's Bruce Wells has the honour and tough task of coaching three of his four sons at the Olympics

By Alan Ross
Blunt family: Bruce Wells Photo: Snow Sports NZ/YouTube

It’s no doubt emotional enough to watch your children at the Olympics but it must take a certain strength of character to coach three of your sons at the games as well.

Bruce Wells has the task of helping sons Jossi, 23, Byron, 21, and Beau-James, 19, all perform to their best during the slopestyle skiing this week.

And if that is not enough his fourth son, Jackson, 15, is a real prospect for the 2018 Pyeongchang games and Bruce says the arrangement can sometimes be a blessing in disguise.

I can be completely blunt with them and they can’t sack me. I’m still going to be their dad no matter what so we can keep it pretty real

Bruce Wells

“In some ways it’s a benefit, in other ways it’s not,” he said.

“It’s certainly a benefit in that I can be completely blunt with them and they can’t sack me. I’m still going to be their dad no matter what so we can keep it pretty real.

“I hear some coaches around that are trying to be supportive of their athletes and trying to get their development and a lot of encouragement happening.

“I’m afraid our family are pretty blunt and if we don’t like what we see, they are told that.”

Jossi, real name Josiah, has already described the experience as ‘unreal’ and his dad shared those feelings when he realised that three of his boys were going to at an Olympics.

“It took a little while to sink in I think,” he explained.

“The boys and I have worked together for a long time now, at the X Games, Dew Tours, all the major events and we don’t think too much of it.

“But last night I was sitting down with them and thought ‘wow, I’m actually at the Olympics and I’ve got three of my boys here’. It’s pretty cool.”

Bruce believes that the podium places in the slopestyle skiing are all up for grabs with both Jossi and Byron gunning for a medal.

“They are all on a slightly different agenda with what their particular goals are,” said the Wanaka -based man.

“Jossi and Byron are shooting for a podium spot and Beau we have identified is going to be more of a medal threat at Pyeongchang so his goals are a little bit different, more performance orientated.

“There are some new tricks he wants to get done and if he can make a final I think he will be pretty chuffed with that and I would be too.”

Spare a thought then for mum, Stacey, who will be wincing as her boys head down the course.

“She doesn’t seem to get too nervous about the safety aspect of it,” Bruce continued.

“The boys have been banged up a lot over the years and that’s part of it but they’re not silly.

“They are fairly smart and they are calculated with what they do. It still goes wrong sometimes though but she seems pretty comfortable with it.”

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