Snowboard news - Charlotte Bankes defects from France to GB
Leading snowboard cross athlete Charlotte Bankes has switched allegiances from representing France to line up for her native Britain.
The move, approved on Monday by the International Ski Federation, comes as GB's national structure for snow sports has rebranded under performance director Dan Hunt from 'British Ski and Snowboard' to 'GB Snowsport' as part of an ambitious strategy aimed at creating future success.
Three-time World Cup winner Bankes, 23, was born in Hemel Hempstead but moved to France with her family at the age of four, competing for the national team since age 15 and at the last two Winter Olympics – placing seventh in PyeongChang.
France's Charlotte Bankes competes the qualifying session of the women's snowboard cross event at the Phoenix Park during the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games on February 16, 2018 in PyeongchangGetty Images
Bankes, whose older brother Thomas has previously raced for Britain, said: "Competing for Britain has always been in my mind and I thought I do actually want to race for Britain more than for France.
" I'd been looking at what's been happening in Britain for quite a while. The programme has come along heaps over the last two years."
Bankes, twice a junior world champion, had been sweating over a long process of deliberations between the British board and the French Ski Federation before they agreed to her release on Monday.
"I had to move my FIS license to be British and that's been an interesting process," she explained.
"There had been a possibility that I wouldn't be allowed to race for a year if the French didn't give their agreement and it only got sorted Monday morning, when the season starts next week, so it's been a bit of a stressful time."
French snowboarder Charlotte Bankes competes in the women's Snowboardcross Team big final during the FIS Snowboard and Freestyle Ski World Championships 2017 in Sierra Nevada on March 13, 2017Getty Images
In a few days, Bankes will join the British squad for the first time before making her GB debut at the Europa Cup in Austria next week and the three-time French National Championships winner believes that the time had come for a new lease of life.
Bankes said: "It was quite a lot easier to be in the French team at a young age, there was more support.
"I'd been doing quite well but I didn't manage to achieve the goals I had set myself with the Olympics, so I wanted a bit of a change.
" The British mindset is very different. It's a smaller family that is really pushed towards performance and I hope to benefit from that.""
After injury struggles, and with GB Snowsport having brought in a number of top coaches as part of their rebrand, Bankes has big plans for the future, although she is realistic about the present.
She added: "Short-term I don't want to really think about results but over the next four years I want to try and be in the top six girls and then medalling at the Olympics is the main goal."