OLYMPIC CHAMPION | ENTREPRENEUR | MUM
From a young age, I was certain of what I wanted. It was simple and clear. I wanted to win an Olympic Gold Medal. I quickly learned that the path to achieving that was far from simple nor clear. I’m a natural born acrobat and have loved flipping and spinning my body for as long as I can remember. My early interest for acrobatics, soon turned into a love for gymnastics. The thought of being an Olympian and a champion gymnast consumed me. But, with opportunities missed, it was not meant to be and injury forced me into retirement at the age of 16 leaving a hollow void that needed filling. That’s when destiny opened up before me, and a new challenge was presented – one that would change my life forever.
Australia was embarking on a unique program of transforming ex-gymnasts into aerial skiers and I was selected and offered a chance for a new beginning. I had a second chance to make my childhood dream of being an Olympic Champion, a reality. In less than two years, I was competing in my rookie year at the finals of the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics, where I finished 8th place.
The following year I was already ranked #2 in the world, which I backed up for another three years with multiple World Cup wins and podium finishes. My rise to the top ranks of the sport was the most rapid in the sports history and I pushed myself hard through extreme limits and through pain and debilitating injuries. I was determined to be #1, I wanted to push boundaries and break new ground in women’s aerial skiing and I wanted to jump like a man. In many ways, my will was stronger than my skill in the early days and I lacked patience and smart planning and often set myself up for injury, setbacks and disappointment. I believed that my hard work would eventually pay off and it wasn’t until later in my career, after a devastating injury at the Torino Olympics in 2006, that I realised I didn’t need to work harder, I needed to work smarter.
After numerous operations on my knee I made a full recovery and returned to aerial skiing in the 2007-2008 season regaining my world ranking of #2. In the 2008-2009 season, I finally achieved the ranking of world #1. With meticulous planning and strategizing, leaving no stone unturned, I entered the 2010 season with only one goal – to win the Olympics. My preparation was perfect and my mind; bulletproof. I was ready.
The 2010 Olympics was an experience I will never forget. The Olympic final was the highest scoring Olympic final in the history of women’s aerial skiing. I nailed my two jumps; the most difficult jumps in the competition. I saw my name ranked at the top of the leaderboard. I sat there in shock, realizing of course that I had won, but just absorbed the wave of satisfaction that spread through my body knowing I had finally achieved what I had wanted for so long…Olympic Gold.
Not afraid of a challenge, I decided to defend my title at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, this time as a mum. I was determined to reach new heights, break boundaries and perform a new trick that no woman had ever done before: the quad twisting, triple somersault. With this motivation, I returned to the World Cup circuit in 2012, but unfortunately not without setback, suffering a debilitating back injury that shook my confidence yet again. Undeterred and prepared to see the challenge through, I fought my way back to health and continued my journey towards Sochi. Jumping my way through to the medal round at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, I put everything on the line and performed the quad-twisting- triple somersault. It was perfection in the air, but failing to land the jump cleanly secured me an Olympic bronze medal. That final jump has replayed over and over in my mind. It will for a long time. I risked all for the ultimate glory and although the medal was not gold, I was happy with my performance. I achieved what I set out to do when I first started the sport. I broke new ground and became the first woman to perform the quad twisting triple, a trick only men have mastered. It will be cemented into the history books as a gutsy, bold and progressive moment in aerial skiing history.
I pushed the boundaries of myself leaving me with no regrets. This I will always be proud of.
Whether I continue for another Olympics has not been decided. There are still things I want to achieve and I love being an athlete. Time will tell and I trust my instincts will let me know the right path to take.
Beyond life as an athlete, I love skiing (for fun), surfing, yoga, running, travelling, reading, cooking and entertaining with friends and family. I am an entrepreneur and run my own company BodyICE, I am a mother and seeker of new ways to challenge myself.
WELCOME to my site – a place to share and reflect on the life experiences I’ve had as a professional athlete, mum, wife and business owner. A place to share my journey and the amazing people who have helped me get the best out of myself. It’s also a place for random snippets relating to food, family, travel and gear I can’t seem to do without. Enjoy!