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Aussie determination to take flight in Cypress

13 February 2010

Australia’s aerial skiers are at the top of their game at the moment, and go into the Games confident and enthusiastic.

With Lydia Lassila and Jacqui Cooper still in a training camp, three of the five-strong aerials contingent arrived in Vancouver yesterday in time for the Team reception and Opening Ceremony.

The group’s only male representative, Dave Morris, was resplendent in this morning’s press conference complete with green and gold dyed hair.

Morris has had a great run in the lead up to the Games, landing his first quad twisting triple jump in competition last week, to collect Nor-Am gold in Mont Gabriel against a strong international field.

“It was very satisfying,” Morris said of the quad. “It was my big thing for this year.

“I’m feeling pretty confident with my tricks and I’m as ready as I can be.”

Heading to her second Games, Liz Gardner has come full circle since Torino and is heading into Vancouver fresh and with renewed self-belief.

“In the last few weeks I’ve had some good results and managed to get a fourth at the last World Cup,” Gardner said. “I managed to be able to get back up to some higher DD and do two triple twisting doubles.”

Of the conditions at Cypress Mountain, Gardner is nonplussed.

“The conditions are pretty challenging here, we are so dependent on the weather,” Gardner said.

“This is what we train with in Australia, so if anyone has a head start it’s probably us and we like the sticky slow stuff, so bring it on.”

More of a concern than the lack of snow is the all-powerful Chinese women’s aerials team.

“The Chinese team has been a dominant force in our sport for the last four years,” Gardner said. “Over the last year and particularly this season we’ve seen seven girls explode onto the scene.

“It doesn’t leave the door open very wide.”

The success of the Chinese jumpers led by the likes of Nina Li, is the result of their national program consisting of over 200 development athletes, a program that is a blueprint of the much smaller Australian version that paved the way in the sport.

“We can compete with China,” Gardner said. “We’ve proven that we can compete - a tiny nation can compete with the millions of Chinese.

“Australians have sheer determination. We can’t take a step back and we can work hard. Australians are really committed.”

Alice Wheeler
AOC - Vancouver

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