Healthy Hero Danielle Scott

AWE-IN­SPIR­ING AERIAL TUM­BLES AND TURNS ARE ALL PART OF A DAY’S WORK FOR OLYMPIAN DANIELLE SCOTT – AND THE LEVEL OF FO­CUS, SKILL AND SELF-BE­LIEF SHE NEEDS IS EV­ERY BIT AS IM­PRES­SIVE.

Weight Watchers Magazine (Australia) - - Contents -

In March, Aus­tralia’s Danielle Scott claimed the sil­ver medal in aerial ski­ing at the 2017 FSI Freestyle Ski and Snow­board World Cham­pi­onships, and is now ranked sec­ond in the world in a sport she took up just over a decade ago.

Back then, as a 16-year-old teenager grow­ing up on Syd­ney’s North­ern Beaches, Danielle had never even tried on a pair of skis, let alone hit the snow wear­ing them. Now 27, a unique blend of skill, com­mit­ment and de­ter­mi­na­tion has seen her soar to the top of her game. And she’s nowhere near fin­ished yet. FIRSTLY, CON­GRAT­U­LA­TIONS ON WIN­NING YOUR MOST RE­CENT SIL­VER MEDAL. WHAT DID THAT MEAN TO YOU? Thank you! Af­ter a sea­son of highs and lows it was pretty spe­cial, and the level of com­pe­ti­tion was re­mark­able. The girl who beat me was amaz­ing. Her fi­nal jump was a back-full, dou­ble-full, full, and she be­came the first woman to land it in com­pe­ti­tion. To com­pete along­side some­one who so suc­cess­fully pushed the bound­aries of women’s sport was in­cred­i­ble and in­spir­ing.

HOW DID YOUR AERIAL SKI­ING CAREER BE­GIN? As a gym­nast! I com­peted in gym­nas­tics at an elite level, be­fore re­tir­ing when I was just 13. Be­cause I was still very young, I felt like I wasn’t ‘done’ and that I hadn’t reached my full po­ten­tial, so I tried a va­ri­ety of other sports. Some of my friends had been scouted for the aerial ski­ing pro­gram, which re­ally ap­pealed to me even though I wasn’t a skier, but I knew they wouldn’t take me un­til I was 16 – so I had three years to wait. When I was fi­nally ac­cepted, it was ev­ery­thing I’d hoped it’d be: chal­leng­ing, exciting and full of adren­a­line. It was an epic jour­ney, right from the very be­gin­ning.

SO YOU HAD NEVER SKIED BE­FORE? No. It turns out it’s eas­ier to take a gym­nast and teach them how to ski than take a skier and teach them how to flip! But the process of learn­ing to ski is in­tense. It took two years, start­ing off at Mount Buller in Vic­to­ria, and then go­ing to Utah to con­tinue the fast-track train­ing pro­gram. You need to be a world­class skier be­fore you can even con­tem­plate jump­ing.

YOU AT­TENDED YOUR FIRST OLYMPICS IN 2014 – DID IT LIVE UP TO THE HYPE? Def­i­nitely. By that stage I’d been to World Cups, but the Olympics is another level. You have so many dif­fer­ent sport­ing dis­ci­plines all gath­ered to­gether in the one place, and ev­ery sin­gle per­son is so driven and fo­cused. The sense of ac­com­plish­ment you feel just be­ing there is amaz­ing.

WHAT’S YOUR IDEA OF HEALTHY EAT­ING? En­joy­ing the food I eat, while at the same time nourishing my body. What you put in is what you get out, and I gen­uinely feel good af­ter I’ve eaten a whole­some, nu­tri­tious meal. My diet has to be quite struc­tured to make sure I get the en­ergy I need, which means strik­ing the right bal­ance be­tween car­bo­hy­drates and pro­tein. And be­cause I travel so much, plenty of fruit and veg­eta­bles are es­sen­tial to stay healthy. But as a team we’re of­ten im­mersed in dif­fer­ent cul­tures, so we plan ahead by trav­el­ing with pro­tein pow­ders and meal sup­ple­ments in case we can’t get our hands on the food we need.

HOW DO YOU RECHARGE, AWAY FROM SKI­ING? My favourite place to be is the beach. Grow­ing up, surf­ing was very much part of my life­style, but be­ing >

“Aerial ski­ing is chal­leng­ing, exciting and full of adren­a­line.”

based in Salt Lake City, I don’t get to do it too of­ten. Dur­ing the two months of the year that I’m able to spend back home in Aus­tralia, I take ev­ery chance I have to get into the wa­ter.

WHAT’S MORE IM­POR­TANT TO YOU: HOW YOUR BODY LOOKS OR HOW WELL IT PER­FORMS? Body image is such a com­plex is­sue. Be­ing a gym­nast was in­ter­est­ing, be­cause it’s a body-con­scious sport where the gen­eral feel­ing is that you can’t be suc­cess­ful un­less you’re very slim. I was for­tu­nate be­cause I re­tired when I was still quite young, but watch­ing the im­pact the

“I don’t weigh my­self or fo­cus on a num­ber – it’s about feel­ing good.”

pres­sure to look a cer­tain way had on some of the older girls was quite con­fronting. Aerial ski­ing is to­tally dif­fer­ent. Like a lot of ath­letes, we of­ten de­velop mus­cles in places that change our body shape dra­mat­i­cally, but it’s not about how I look, it’s about how I feel and mak­ing sure my body has the en­ergy it needs and that it can per­form well. So I don’t weigh my­self and I don’t fo­cus on a num­ber – it’s all about feel­ing good.

HOW DO YOU MAIN­TAIN A POS­I­TIVE MIND­SET? There are so many vari­ables in this sport, and many that you have no con­trol over, like the weather. So part of our train­ing is learn­ing to fo­cus on the things within our con­trol, and not let­ting the things we can’t con­trol get to us. But when things get tough or don’t go to plan, I have a few pos­i­tive self-talk tech­niques that I use to help me clear my mind. You can get so caught up in neg­a­tive thoughts and ideas that if you’re not care­ful, you can’t see things as they re­ally are. I might say some­thing like, “Let neg­a­tive thoughts float away like clouds”, but I also come up with new mantras to fit a par­tic­u­lar sit­u­a­tion. ARE YOU AL­WAYS SET­TING NEW GOALS TO WORK TO­WARDS? Set­ting smaller, step­ping-stone goals is a use­ful men­tal tool, be­cause it helps you see and ac­knowl­edge your progress to­wards the bigger pic­ture. But I try not to get too hung up on whether I’m able to tick off ev­ery one of those goals. It’s im­pos­si­ble to achieve ev­ery sin­gle goal you set your­self, and you don’t want to beat your­self up if you ‘fail’. In­stead, I al­ways come back to try­ing to remember what I love about the sport – be­ing com­pet­i­tive, the adren­a­line of jump­ing, and the chase to bet­ter your last per­for­mance. That chase keeps you go­ing, be­cause it’s never-end­ing.

WHAT DOES THE REST OF 2017 HOLD FOR YOU? I’ll spend it pre­par­ing for the 2018 Win­ter Olympics. It’s eight months away, but that time will fly. It’s the lead-up to the big­gest mo­ment of my career so far, so I have a mix of ex­cite­ment and nerves, but as an adren­a­line junkie, any­thing that gets my nerves go­ing isn’t some­thing to shy away from – it’s some­thing to look for­ward to. I see it as an op­por­tu­nity to get out there and do the best that I can do. #

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