I can feel the excitement as the 2011 FIS Freestyle World Ski Championships are about to start! I’ve been skiing most everyday and showing my groups the venue for the Ski Cross, Moguls and Aerials. Even though I’m not competing there’s always a bit of excitement anticipating the competitions.
The athletes from all over the world are arriving and training. I remember as an athlete arriving to the host resort. You see the hill and start to wonder is this going to be where I achieve my goal and win a word championship medal? Even though I competed in Alpine, the Freestyle World Championships athletes still share the same anxiety.
I’m sure (from my experience) that the athletes are excited and want to get the games going. They have been competing all season and now the big event of the season is upon them. The US athletes are for sure at an advantage because they are at their “home hill”. They have trained and competed here before. But they are also at a big disadvantage. Competing in the World Championships is pressure enough but competing in them in your home country in front of your friends and family adds so much extra pressure.
There is so much that goes along being in the World Championships. People may think it is just showing up on your competition day and hope to have the run of your life. Well not really. There are always responsibilities such as press conferences, fitting in training and the gym, sponsor dinners and family time. This is always the case as an elite athlete but it seems to be that much greater and packed together at World Championships or an Olympics. I keep referencing the “home” turf advantage/disadvantage because of all the things the athletes need to do. They also want to get to their favorite restaurant, shop or hang out to burn off some nerves and make them relax. Some much to do and such little time to fit it all in.
I attached a photo I thought would represent the feel of the World Championships. What’s missing from this picture? Whether it is a World Cup or World Championship being at home always brings out athletes from the past that participate in sponsor functions. We are there to cheer on our present athletes and maybe help them manage the pressure? But for sure it’s always fun to get together and share the stories of our past experiences of glory and not so much glory.
Good Luck to all the Athletes! See you on the Slopes