In mid-December Australia enjoyed a successful winter weekend when Danielle Scott won silver in the season-opener World Cup, backed it up with a gold and equal World Number 1 ranking the following day and was joined by Samantha Wells on the podium who took bronze.
To cap off the wonderful winter weekend, Danielle and Sam were joined by Dave Morris with all three delivering their best to claim bronze in the Team Event – a first for the Australian Aerial Skiing Team.
Australia’s Aerial coaches Jeff Bean and Joe Davies say that the athletes have worked hard for their early season success.
“We made a lot of changes over the summer and the team’s success is indicative of that work,” they said.
When asked if there will be any special preparation for Lake Placid, both coaches chorused, “Absolutely not.”
“We treat every comp like a training day,” Coach Bean said. “We’ve learned a lot since 1998 starting with Kirstie, and Jacqui and Alisa. That breadth of experience across the program is something pretty special.”
“We understand that the expectations can’t go away but we are able to take all the resources that the Aerial program provides to produce the best that we can as a group. We have an entire team of people who can get on the podium on any given day,” Joe Davies added.
For Danielle Scott the goal will be to maintain her World Number 1 ranking with the yellow bib.
“The World Cups in China in December were Dani’s best-ever start to the season,” said Geoff Lipshut, CEO Olympic Winter Institute of Australia.
“The same can be said for Samantha Wells, who broke 90 points for the first time in December. That was a big step up for her. It’s also super pleasing to see Laura Peel jumping well and making changes after coming back from injury.”
Sochi silver medallist Dave Morris is fully recovered from injury and trained well leading into Lake Placid.
“Dave’s health and confidence are good, and he is indicating that he’s getting back on track for the World Cups in North America,” Mr Lipshut said.
“The OWIA is appreciative of the valuable support provided to the Aerial Skiing athletes from sponsors and its major stakeholders and partners,” he added.
Lydia Lassila joins the team for her first event since Sochi in 2014 and first World Cup for the 2016/17 season.
“The Aerial Skiing program is very structured and we run a pretty tight program. Lydia has trusted the program from the outset and we think she saw that we all put a lot of thought into that structure and do all the extra ‘one percent’s’ that make a difference,” the coaches said.
The Aerial World Cup in Lake Placid begins at 6.55am Sunday, 15 January (AEDT) with Ladies Qualifying; Men’s Qualifying at 9.35am and Finals from 2.15pm.