The road to Sochi | Q-and-A with Olympian Stacey Cook
January 27, 2014
At 29, Stacey Cook has sharpened her ski racing skills over the years to a fine edge — and she's ready to prove it to the world.
Cook, who was born and raised in Truckee and now skis out of Mammoth, is entering her third Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. Not only is she wiser and more seasoned than ever, the downhill specialist has recently gained confidence in the super G, making her a dual threat for a medal-winning performance.
She'll have plenty of competition, however — not only from the traditional ski-power nations, but also from her talented U.S. teammates.
Check out what she had to say:
Q: How's your season been treating you so far?
A: "It's been good. There have definitely been some high points and some not-so-good races. But in general, I'm skiing well and just trying not to focus on the results but the process. I'm confident in the way I'm skiing. I just need to take it all the way to the finish."
Q: I see you've had some good results in the super G.
A: "Yeah, and that's kind of cool because it's been such an off event for me for so many years in a row. I feel like it's finally starting to come around, and it's not really been an event that I've looked at for World Champs or the Olympics, just because it hasn't been a strong event for me. But this year it's a little more realistic, and that's kind of exciting."
Q: Are there any reasons you attribute to your success?
A: "Yeah, a big reason is my equipment. I feel really solid on my setup this year. I had a little more say after last season in the equipment, and I found a super G ski that fits me a little bit better. I've been super comfortable in it, and it's so fun to ski on. It feels good every day, and I've been having some good results. I also got sick of people saying that I had so much potential in the event. I decided that I wanted to put a big effort into it and do better at it this year. I had a big focus on it in the fall, and I think it's paying off."
Q: What are the main differences in the tactics that go into downhill versus super G?
A: "I think super G is now at the point where you have to be so perfect. The GS is one of those events too. Although the super G has a lot more fear factor to it, that was a concept that I could never quite process that well. In downhill, naturally there's going to be some mistakes, and I always looked at super G from the downhill side. I thought, 'If I mess this turn up I can get the speed back.' But in super G, it's not like that anymore. You have to look at it more from the GS side. So I just changed my mindset and treat it as more of a technical event and focus on technique a lot."
Q: With the U.S. Women's Ski Team being so deep and talented, do you have any concerns about qualifying, or do you feel like you have it pretty well secured?
A: "No, there's absolutely concerns. But that's not really a focus. I have the realization of what it takes to get there, and it's a process, and there's nothing you can do to control the other athletes. All you can do is your own very best. So that's what we're all focusing on, and it's a real fun environment. It's definitely tough to make our team, but I think I'll be fine no matter what because the process will be the same. I know I just have to do my best."
Q: With Sochi located thousands of miles away, will you have a large contingent of family and friends making the trip?
A: "No, it's really difficult to get that far away, and I understand that. So my family also knows that I'm there to ski and not entertain, and they won't even see me that much. So I understand my family not making the trip, and I know I have their support no matter what. But I think my parents are going to go."