How calmness, gratitude and overcoming distractions led to second
place at the 2012 World Cup aerials opener By Emily Cook
On Jan. 15 I woke up at 5: 30 a.m. to the sound of wind chimes.
My phone’s preset alarm was an early reminder of the theme I
had chosen for competition day at Mont Gabriel, Quebec: stay
calm and be in the moment.
Typically “comp” day can evoke a mix of emotions, tempting an
athlete into fear, excitement, anxiety or nervous jitters. Distractions
can alter an athlete’s mindset for better or for worse, and it’s our
job to control those emotions and proceed with training and com-
petition as planned. On this comp day — which would turn out to
be filled with those distractions — my goal was to remain in the
present and appreciate each moment, thankful for the opportunity
The day started beautifully, perfect for an aerials competition. It
was cold, sunny and without a breath of wind, but on the hill it be-
came very apparent that something was missing technically in my
jumping. Having done only six doubles because of a small knee
injury, I hadn’t had the time to transfer changes made on summer
water ramps over to snow. I simply couldn’t land a jump. I missed
landings and slid down the hill repeatedly before training was over
and the competition was set to start.
Standing in the gate, I took a deep breath, remained calm and then
took a jump — not surprisingly — just like training. I finished in a
disappointing 11th place in the semifinal. Thankfully, I was granted
another jump in the finals later that day.
The U.S. aerials team at Mont Gabriel.