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Aerials team flying towards PyeongChang

25 January 2018

AERIALS: Australia’s aerial skiers will look to build on their rich tradition of Winter Olympic success when a team of five high flyers hit the jumps at the PyeongChang 2018 Games.

The team features a full contingent of Aussie women with dual Olympic medallist Lydia Lassila lining up at her fifth Winter Olympic Games alongside 2017 World Championship silver medallist Danielle Scott, 2015 World Champion Laura Peel and Sochi 2014 Olympian Samantha Wells.

Sochi 2014 silver medallist and 2017 World Championship bronze medallist David Morris will fly the flag in the men’s competition.

While the accolades for each member of this team are exceptional there is none more astounding than those of 2010 Olympic Champion and 2014 Olympic bronze medallist Lassila.

With so much adversity throughout her career it is astonishing to think she has made it to the start line of her fifth straight Olympic Games, let alone be well in contention to win an Australian record third Winter Olympic medal at PyeongChang.

“I never dreamed of going to 5 Olympics or having a career this long,” said Lassila who claimed a gold and silver medal at back-to-back World Cup events in Lake Placid last weekend.

“I’ve learned so much about myself, endured set backs and celebrated the victories.

“I love my sport, I love my country and that’s what has kept me coming back.”

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The team has been in strong form throughout the season with Peel also claiming dual bronze medals in Lake Placid and Scott winning World Cup gold in China. The trio of Scott, Wells and Morris then linked up to win silver in the non-Olympic team event in Secret Garden.

“I competed all the jumps that I will be competing in PyeongChang in Lake Placid so doing that and finishing on the podium definitely gives me a confidence boost,” Peel said.

“However I know every day is a new day and everyone will be bringing their A game to the Olympics so right now it’s about getting back to work and building consistency.

“It’s just as exciting to be selected the second time around. I know more what to expect this time amd I think that experience will help me to really focus on the task at hand.

“I’m also looking forward to cheering on all the other Aussies.”

The team trains and lives with each other throughout the year and puts a lot of their success down to the combination of strong team camaraderie and the ability to push one another to new heights.

“We're all pretty chilled here in Finland at the moment in a last training camp before heading to PyeongChang,” Morris said.

“Everyone is up to standard and really jumping quite well. We were all lucky enough to basically qualify our spots last year so it hasn't been a stressful season for us, just making sure we stay healthy and have enough energy to peak at the big event.”

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Having secured a medal at his second Games, Morris is now looking to pull out all the stops and perform a jump he has never tried on snow to climb one step higher on the Olympic podium.

“So far we haven't had enough time to practice my quintuple-twisting triple-flip,” he said.

“It's on my bucket list as something I need to do in the sport so the plan will be to perform it in this training camp, and then hopefully get the opportunity to show it off at the Games.

“If I make the super final (last round) that'll mean I'm having a pretty epic day and landing so by that point I'll be confident to perform it in competition for the first time and compete for a medal.”

Just like Morris, Scott too has the jumps she needs to lift her too Olympic glory. The 27-year-old claimed her best result to date at the 2017 World Championships and will be hoping that the experience from her first Games will help her lift at PyeongChang.

“It feels pretty cool knowing that this will be round two of flying the green and gold in the Olympic arena,” Scott said.

“Winning a medal at the World Champs has given confidence as it is the same format as the Olympics.

“Confidence is everything but so is being prepared and being able to handle the different conditions at each site so I hope to go out and put all my preparations to work.”

Wells will also be looking to take her Games experience, as well as some solid form that includes two top six World Cup results this season, onto the Korean slopes as she aims to better her 18th place finish in Sochi.

“Leading into my second Games, I’m feeling much better prepared and I am bringing with me an arsenal of competitive jumps,” she said.

“I’m excited to share this Olympic experience with my coach, and support staff, as well as some of my family, who will be coming to watch.”

Aerials skiing will kick off on with the women's qualification on Day 6 (February 15) followed by the finals on Day 7 (February 16). The men's competition then runs across Day 8 and 9 (February 17-18). 

The discipline of Freestyle Skiing is Australia’s most successful Winter Olympic event with Alisa Camplin’s two medals (2002 – gold, 2006 – bronze), Lassila’s two (2010 – gold, 2014 – bronze) and Morris’ Sochi 2014 silver accounting for half of the nation’s Winter medal haul.   

Matt Bartolo
olympics.com.au

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