Katie Summerhayes: Innsbruck 2012 will give me advantage at Sochi 2014
January 6, 2014 08:41 am
Sochi is going to be incredible but while it would be my first Games, I’ve been lucky enough to already have an amazing Olympic experience.
In 2012 I was lucky enough to be selected for Team GB to compete at the first-ever Winter Youth Olympic Games in Innsbruck, which was just fantastic.
It gave me a real insight into what Sochi could be like because a big multi-sports event is so different to what I’m used to. I think it could give me a real advantage over my rivals.
It was without doubt the best few days of my sporting career so far, I felt so honoured to be part of Team GB and I will never forget carrying the flag at the opening ceremony. I don’t think I’ve felt more proud or important; it’s one of my favourite photos ever.
Usually our events are all the same people hanging out but you felt part of a bigger team, it wasn’t just skiers but snowboarders, figure skaters, bobsleigh drivers, speed skaters and others.
Getting to see those athletes in action, wearing the kit and feeling part of a real team was an experience that will live with me for the rest of my life.
I would have loved a medal in Innsbruck but I finished fifth in the halfpipe, which is not my signature event, but slopestyle wasn’t part of the programme.
However, it gave me a flavour of what Sochi could be like and it has been a real motivation for me ever since.
I remember coming home and having to go into school the very next day. That was a big of a shock for me and that’s perhaps when I realised what I really wanted to achieve from my sport.
It’s been so busy since Innsbruck, with lots of highs and lows, which you have to accept is part of life when you are an athlete.
Being injured is just the worst but I also made my first World Cup podium in Silvaplana in February 2013 and finished fourth at the World Championships.
Perhaps there is more expectation on me because of what happened last year but I don’t feel that pressure.
People might expect me to do well but our discipline is incredibly close, loads of girls have the chance of winning a medal and I’m not going to let it stress me out.
Everyone has the tricks but it is just a question of who puts it down at the Games when it matters. We’ve already seen the course plan, which is very unusual, and it’s really excited me.
They obviously want to encourage us to throw down some great tricks and there are some great rail sections, which is a really strong part of my skiing.
I’m hoping it plays to my advantage and I can’t wait.
© Sportsbeat 2013