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What does your standard training week involve?
During Alpine Skiing training periods: on snow gate training and recovery gym sessions 6 days a week plus 3-4 days a week of strength and conditioning. During Track and Field training periods: 9-10 sessions a week involving javelin and long jump technical training, strength and conditioning, medicine ball programs, plyometrics, running and recovery sessions.
Where is your favourite place to train?
Vail, Colorado. I worked in Vail for 2 seasons before I found out I was eligible for the Paralympics so anytime I train there it feels like home. The town, the atmosphere, the mountain and scenery…a blue bird day at Vail can’t be beaten!
What is your favourite 2XU garment? When do you use it and why?
Thermal Compression Tights- I live in these when skiing and have several pairs! One I wear under my speedsuit when racing for warmth and compression, another to wear during gym, recovery and athletics training as well as on flights to aid in faster recovery. The third I use to sleep in when my legs are exhausted after a tough day!
What is your favourite training accessory?
My guide and our headsets! Being a vision impaired ski racer I race with a guide and we communicate via headsets we both wear. The relationship we have is crucial; he enables me to ski at my fastest speeds whilst ensuring I can maneuver the course safely. The headsets allow continual communication to ensure all information between us is accurate.
What has been the toughest experience in your career and what did you learn from it?
Being told the day before the Opening Ceremony of the Beijing Summer Paralympics that my right eye was 0.01% too sighted to compete. It was an incredibly ironic position to be in and it tore my world apart. Beijing taught me how strong I am mentally. If I could get past the devastation, then not much would stop me.
What’s the most common training mistake you see on the circuit? Any suggestions on how to avoid it?
Over-training. All elite athletes want to train 100% all the time but most end up with injury because they don’t listen to their body when it needs a rest. This is especially crucial when on snow given the increased risks of crashing when skiing at high speeds.
What motivates you to train and race harder?
Winning a Paralympic gold medal for my country. Standing on the dais in Vancouver as the first Australian women in history to win a winter Paralympics medal was the best day of my life. It was indescribable and I want to do it all over again and again!
Describe your diet/meal plan leading up to a big race:
My diet is very regular regardless of whether I’m training, racing, skiing or track and field. I’m always prepared with lots of food and drinks on a race day as there can be big delays due to bad weather and I can’t perform on an empty stomach!
How do you balance your training and racing life with life outside the sport?
Time management is key. I don’t go anywhere without my diary and would be lost without it. I’m a qualified Osteopath so I also fit in some part time work and can always make time to catch up with my family and friends; when it’s in the diary there’s no changing it!
What type of nutritional supplement do you find most helpful (either for training or competition)?
I currently take Musashi protein and creatine as I am trying to build my lean muscle mass. I also take a multi vitamin to help prevent cold and flu.
Best and worst thing about being a professional athlete:
The best thing is getting to do what I love every day of the year, pushing my boundaries, travelling the world, meeting amazing people and getting to represent my country at the highest level. The worst thing is when you’re at -30C in just a LYCRA speedsuit! Spending so much time away from family and friends is also tough.
In five years time, I'll be:
Hopefully the first Australian to ever win medals at a Paralympic summer and winter games.