It was not a complete surprise when I was handed my Olympic silver medal. It was exciting of course but I had worked for it.
The full story behind how I got there is now available in my autobiography “Second Nature”.
I started at the beginning just like everyone and slowly learned how to become an athlete, how to compete, how to win and how to lose. I slowly learned how to be a professional at what I do and that it wasn’t at all luck that I got my results. I was trained and ready to be there that day.
I’m constantly asked how it feels to have been so close to getting a gold, just missing out. And at one point that would have been how it felt, but after 12 years in the sport and with a less than peasy journey, I see it very differently now.
I did not lose a gold medal that day, I simply earned the silver that day. It was my highest possible result, and when you read how I got there, it’s easy to understand why I went home with no regrets.
For details on how to purchase a copy click here
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!
Update: 26th January, 2014
The last two weeks have seen me through 3 competitions in very short succession and has ended the Olympic qualification period for freestyle. The World Cups in Deer Valley (US), Val St.-Come (Canada) and Lake Placid (US) were a real test of energy and mental toughness but I still managed to keep my streak of making finals going completing the season with a finals finish every week.
Val St.-Come turned out to be my most successful competition of the year where despite being overly tired and underprepared for competition day I finished 3rd claiming my first
podium for the year. It was really good practice for me jumping whilst tired and still being able to put down landings when it counted and just keeping it consistent enough to make it all the way through.
Deer Valley ran the full Olympic competition format but unfortunately I wasn’t able to make it the whole way through the competition due to some mess ups with scoring and organisation problems not working in my favour but a solid 9th place was still appreciated. Lake Placid had me placed in 8th to finish the season ranked #6 overall and #3 on the Olympic rankings going into the Games that are approaching very quickly. Luckily for me I qualified last year for the Games so it wasn’t a stressful season for me unlike many others.
At this time 4 years ago I had just scraped through and barely qualified at the last minute in the final competition and was praying I’d be selected for the team, I’ve come a long way since then.
I’m now back in Finland where we started the training for the season, now for the final Olympic training camp before the opening ceremony on the 7th of February.
It is a very exciting time for me and thank you for your support and encouragement along the way. I’m privileged to be able to compete in my second Olympics and I am confident in my ability to perform well when it counts. Obviously anything can happen on the day but I can promise I will be doing everything I can in the moment to be as successful as I can.
Unfortunately there will be a media blackout period throughout the games and we are not allowed to contribute to social media or recognise sponsors during this time.
Please know that I never forget that I could not have made it this far without the support I have received from everyone I’ve come across.
Successes are for everyone to share as I can only perform because I’ve had help getting here
I hope to bring home some metallic bling!
It’s the end of another year and the start of a new season and the most important season leading into the Olympics.
The team trained in Ruka, Finland as we always do and I found I was having a rough time getting things going this year really struggling to put it all together and just do nice jumps like I was consistently doing last season. In typical form I pulled it together for the Europa Cup competitions and placed 2nd and 4th also managing to compete a skill that I have only ever performed once on snow.
The first World Cups were in China in two separate locations, Beida Lake and then for the finale – inside the Birds Nest stadium in Beijing.
Beida Lake was a rough training week for me, I wasn’t landing or jumping well and then finally on my first competition jump my brain and body decided to work together and I landed the 2 jumps that counted and placed 5th which I was very happy about but realised I have a lot more work to do this year and can’t ride the success of last year without any effort.
Jumping in the Birds Nest was incredible and overwhelming at first to see such a huge structure with snow in a place that I can only associate with summer sports.
I trained well and worked up to my most difficult skills within 2 days and competed them successfully getting myself into the finals (top 12) but unfortunately crashed in finals and finished 11th which again I’m happy with as a finals spot is always good but I expect more of myself than that. My Mum, Dad and brother turned up to watch and I was hoping for something a bit more spectacular but found myself lying on snow at the bottom a bit surprised I hadn’t landed, but there’s always next week.
I head to Park City tomorrow for a much needed week of just training before a very busy three World Cups in 12 days all in different locations over the US and Canada.
That will be end of Olympic qualifications and officially confirm my place on the Sochi 2014 team.
The best is yet to come…
Aerial Skiing training lap – Finland (feat. Aus/Swiss/GB)
Aussies Skiing in Ruka, Finland
I decided an overall view of the last few months of my summer training was more appropriate as there are greater changes and successes over a longer period of time.
My water ramping training was extremely successful this year leading into Sochi, I worked on a few new skills as well as neatening up the ones I already have. Last year on snow I consistently landed and performed well, but I believe the improvements I’ve made this year will stand out to the judges and have me capable of winning on any given day.
I’m now very comfortable with my “bread and butter” skills, both quadruple twisting triple flips that I competed last year and I practiced another quad twisting skill as well as some quintuple twisting ones that could make an appearance if need be. I even attempted 6 twists just to see if I had it in me.
The water ramping competitions in Switzerland and Canada that I competed in were great practice and gave me some insight into how the other teams were going and what I might be up against this winter. The comps didn’t go the way I planned but in being beaten I was reminded that there is always room for improvement and not to take success for granted. I learn a lot from my mistakes and took these back to Utah and continued improving some important small things right up until the end of the last camp.
With my body in better condition than this time in previous years, I have returned back home to Australia and for the next month I’ll be in the gym getting stronger and fitter to be in peak physical form before my skis touch the snow. I’m looking forward to being geared up in all my sponsors gear and continuing from a successful end to the season last year.
Leading into the winter I’ve been asked what my expectations are, but it would be impossible for me to predict or determine anything in this sport. But what I can promise is I will be doing everything I can to be the best I can be and that in the moment, I will do what it takes to succeed. Videos from the summer, both training and competing can be found on my Facebook page – worth a watch.
spinning it up with 4 and 5 twists
Switzerland and Quebec competitions, training and activities
some fun ways to get strong!
The Australian Team finds themselves back in Park City, Utah in the States for another 4-5 months of summer training in the pool.
I’ve just come to the end of my second camp here and will be commencing the third block tomorrow. We train for 3 weeks at a time and then have 5 days off throughout the whole time we’re over here.
As always I started with the “basics” and continue to work my way up to the harder skills each week. The first camp consisted of single flips adding up to two twists, just trying to perfect them and work on my bad habits and I’ve now moved up to double flips with up to three twists. I don’t tend to do triple flips until later in the summer, because of the impact it has on my body and this year in particular I’m focusing on improving the little things which are more easily fixed on easier skills.
It has been very successful so far and I’m excited to see where we shall get by the end of the summer and to break up the location a little bit I will be traveling to Switzerland again this year for their water ramping competition and then to Canada for their competition. I love jumping with other athletes and putting a little pressure on myself when it’s not on snow, it will be good to see where other boys are at regarding their skills and also be a fun and safe way to compete aggressively which I love doing.
I recently became an ambassador for “Australia’s Greatest Athlete” which will be televised soon although unfortunately I will not be around to compete in it this year. I would also like to welcome Telstra on board as my newest sponsor and provider after presenting me with the newest of smart phones to help me stay connect, and Bounce Inc. – a huge indoor trampoline arena who have allowed me to train there and get ready for snow whenever I need to.
With just over two month remaining of training, and less than 200 days before the Olympics, I have a lot of work ahead but I am excited and very confident as to the direction I’m heading.
During the off season it’s rest and then straight back into the gym to get strong for the coming northern hemisphere summer. Knees, backs and energy levels deteriorate slowly over the winter season and now that I am home it’s time to build them back up to peak form especially this being potentially the most important year of my sporting career.
I have got back into running as well as going in to the VIS for weights training sessions 3 times a week and along with some tumbling and trampoline training I plan to be in top physical form before heading to Park City USA in June.
I am very pleased to announce Völkl
Skis, Marker Bindings, Dalbello Ski Boots, Red Bull and Glenvale Dental as my new individual providers assisting me in my efforts towards Sochi 2014. I’m always very appreciative of any help I get due to how challenging it is finding sponsors for my winter sport.
At this year’s Ski and Snowboard Australia awards I was a nominated finalist for athlete of the year and contributed towards our aerial skiing team winning the outstanding achievement award. The night brought all of the freestyle disciplines together to celebrate our most successful season so far. I receiving a very large (literally) cheque from XTM for my seasons efforts, and recently, a very much anticipated Olympic Shadow Team letter informing me of my
selection for Sochi and met the other predicted 50+ athletes that are being hailed as our best winter team ever.
Be sure to check out the new videos and pictures I put up leading into this Olympic season. I have learned a lot over the last 4 year and especially this last season to help me grow as an athlete and really be up there with the best as a potential Gold medalist in Russia. That is my goal and you can be sure I will be training at the top standard in order to be the best.
The last event of the season proved I’ve earned my place amongst the top competitors in the World. I had qualified for my first World Championship finals in Voss, Norway. Using the full Olympic format for the first time in the season proved to be a much more strategic game with two qualifying rounds to get into the top twelve. My coaches had a mild heart attack after I crashed my first jump bringing my chances down to the wire. I had to make the last jump count against an impressive field of athletes. My consistency from the season continued as I qualified into the top twelve then top eight along with the rest of the Aussie team. I was left with two jumps to choose from to attempt to qualify for the top four super final. As a practice for the Sochi Olympics I chose my hardest jump. I had not trained it that week but my consistency continued and I landed it well. I had put myself into a good position to make the final round. Unfortunately the other competitors were jumping at an incredible standard. They put down some impressive results to bump me down to fifth where my competition and season would end. A first and third place at World Cup events, second overall for the season and a top five result at World Championships leaves my coaches and I extremely happy at the end of the season. We etched new records in the history books and pioneered the way forward for Men’s aerials in Australia. I enter the off season now to recover and strengthen up for next season leading into what I plan to be a big end to this four year build up for the Sochi Olympics in 2014.
If you, or someone or a company you know, is interested in assisting me compete over the next season and at the 2014 Sochi Olympics please email me via my Facebook athlete page www.facebook.com/AusAerialSkier
Long story short – I won my first World Cup and in doing so bumped myself up to 2nd overall in the World to finish of the season.
Bukovel – Ukraine, was never on the cards for our team as it was planned that we’d train for World Championships in Ruka