Aerial Freestyle Skiing

Published 02/07 2014 11:55AM

Updated 02/07 2014 12:01PM

Aerial freestyle skiing always wows the audience with gravity-defying flips and twists. And while the men's competition doesn't get underway for over a week, U.S. Olympians have been hard at work perfecting their skills in Park City, Utah.

Their fate is literally up in the air, what happens in the three seconds. From launch to landing, they are judged with a very close eye.

“There is nothing like the feeling of ah landing ah landing a jump and you really have to take the nerve and really make them work to your advantage,” said Todd Ossian.

The native Minnesotan was a former aerial jumper himself and lead the Australian national team for seven years before taking over the U.S. aerial squad in 2010.

“Whether it happens in training or whether it happens in a World Cup or if it happens in an Olympics, it’s very gratifying to see the athletes’ progress and to do a new trick and to do it perfectly.”

With a sport this demanding and dangerous the preparation is as much mental and emotional as it is physical.

“I would say it's at least 50/50. I mean there is so much technical preparation. We spend the summer on the water ramps. We spend a lot of time on the trampolines. But for me, I spend everyday working on the mental skills as well,” said Emily Cook.

I would say I’m a dare devil. I spend most days doing aerial flips and three twists. There are not many people that are doing that anymore, so yeah. I’m kind of crazy. You can say but I’m you got to be strong you have to be physically and mentally strong to be one of the best athletes in the world,” said Dylan Ferguson.

Now Ossian’s team will try and land some medals in Russia.

“I am feeling very confident in the team. Our team is jumping really well. They have been very supportive of each other. I feel we are still out there getting better every day. I would say we have not reached our maximum potential yet, but we are trying to peak at just the right time. You know, Sochi. And we are certainly on a good path to do that.”

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