Update: 9th March, 2014
My 4 year Olympic cycle is complete and I have walked away with a Silver Medal and could not be more satisfied with the result.
Sochi was a wonderful adventure and as spectacular as I expected it to be.
The Vancouver Olympics were an experience for me, it was overwhelming and eye-opening for me and I was there to enjoy myself being thrilled just to be a part of it all.
Sochi, I was there to win. I had dedicated another 4 years on top of what I originally thought would be the end of my career and I was going to make sure it was worth it.
I spent my energy on myself whilst being as supportive as I could of our whole Olympic team but my focus was on my big day.
With a few sessions of training canceled due to warm weather I was reminded of Vancouver but was far more prepared this time around getting all of my skills done ahead of time and having the day off before the competition.
Competition training went as expected, it was horrible and normally is but after 4 bad jumps and training about to finish I had a full freak out that I just wasn’t getting it together and I couldn’t believe it had to happen today after training well all week. I was quickly reminded that for the last two years this has happened before every competition and that today was no different than any other day. After calming down I snuck in one last training jump 5 minutes before the end and it was perfect.
What happened next unfolded in the only way it could have to achieve a podium for me. My first jump qualified equal first as my competition brain kicked in and everything just started going right. Already I had achieved more than my 13th place in Vancouver and that was a real weight off my shoulders. Being one of the last to jump in Final 1 meant that we were able to watch the other jumpers and decide what jump we would do at the end depending on the results. It was simple, there were 12 of us and I only had to beat 4 people, the 4th person crashed their jump just before I went, and as I was preparing to do my quad twist, my coach radioed up and told me to change the jump I was going to do. I performed a triple twisting triple flip, and we knew all I had to do was land and I would make it through. That’s what I did and at that moment I knew I had a real shot at making the podium due to being able to save my harder jumps for the last rounds.
I landed and made it through quickly having to get up there for the next jump which would be a quadruple twisting triple flip, my favourite and “easiest” one which I landed and waited to watch if I could make it into the top 4 for the super final. Three jumpers beat me and suddenly I was in the last round just as we’d planned the day before and it was unfolding flawlessly.
My coach and I had discussed that we’d need to downgrade at some point, and risk that round in order to have a real shot at getting through, it happened at the right time and the rest of it happened like I have been imagining it to for the last 4 years.
My last jump was one I have done 5 times this year, I relied on my water training to kick in and natural instinct to help me land and once again landed it cleanly and I’d done everything I could to put myself in the best position for a medal.
I was beaten by Anton Kushnir one of my favourite jumpers, this was no surprise to me and I was humbled to be beaten by an amazing quintuple twisting jump. The two Chinese let in the final outdid themselves and couldn’t land, I knew instantly what was about to be announced and could not believe that everything had just happened as we’d hoped.
I had won an Olympic Silver Medal, the first in men’s aerials for Australia, the 3rd medal of the Olympics and the 12th Winter Games medal ever for my country.
To top it off I was honoured with carrying the Aussie flag in the closing ceremony, another part of the epic adventure which was the Sochi 2014 campaign.
Thank you all of you who have supported me leading into this, without the help I have received, without the encouragement and belief I would not be complete and this would not have been possible. The medal belongs to all of you as we are a team and I’m proud to have you as part of mine.
Now I will rest a few months, recover and no doubt quickly get bored and start again. In the moment it all happened I wasn’t sure I could take any more, but as the days tick over I remember how much I love doing what I do and I’m already back bouncing on trampolines.
Always more to come!