In the year of the Olympics – the pressure is on.

Sometimes sports are overlooked in the three years of competition in between Olympic Games.

Accepting that there are many people out there who only tune in to watch Ski Cross every four years, really makes me want to help drive the interest in the winter sport.

It’s not really anyone’s fault; unfortunately Ski Cross and many other winter events simply don’t enjoy the same level of exposure in the media as the AFL, NRL, A-League & Super Netball.

The annual World Cup tours can seem less glorious to those who don’t follow Ski Cross – it really is as though capturing an Olympic Gold Medal is the only prize worth winning in our sport.

I know that not to be true, but every year it does seem as though that medal really is worth it’s “weight in gold” so to speak.

Throughout December & January I have been constantly reminded it’s an Olympic year – and this is not to sound ungrateful at all, because I really do love the support.

It’s what picks me up whenever I need that extra motivation to kick myself into gear.

The support I receive from my National Sporting Organisation, family and friends is what makes competing possible – and it is so much fun.

It does sometimes get to me when it becomes a constant theme though.

But I think the reason it has really got to me as of late, is because of the fact that my form heading into South Korea hasn’t been where I want it to be.

The best results I have been able to conjure this year is 10th and 11th place. In fact, I think I’ve had about five placings at the same spot throughout the past six months.

Not since I secured a silver medal at a FIS Freestyle World Cup in Sweden last year, have I managed to stand on a World Cup podium.

There have been days where all I wanted to do was hit the panic button, which is a key reason as to why I flew back home to Australia for eight days over Christmas to be with my family, and opt for a change from snow to surf.

I trained hard over this break and did what I could to stay active – but more importantly to come back to Europe in a recharged state of mind.

It was a much needed trip away from my usual surroundings.

When competing, I tend to build momentum as the season wears on.

Throughout the December rounds, I was waking up to the familiar jolt of pre-race nerves… was everything I needed to succeed that day in place?

I would go through my movement preparation – both in the hotel and at the ski hill – and be ready for competition.

So you could imagine my heartache every time one of the event officials would advise us all that due to snow conditions, weather or other variables, race after race would be delayed. Sometimes for up to six hours.

There was even the occasional cancellation. It just sucked for all of the competitors.

We would all ask ourselves ‘How anyone could possibly build any kind of confidence or consistency when preparation is broken down like that?’

Finally, when it came to being able to compete, it was even more deflating because I kept seeing other competitors who were able to get their stuff together – achieve higher results than me, while I’m at the bottom of the hill thinking what is it that I am doing wrong? Why can’t I finish higher than 11th?

It was a real mental challenge to overcome, and you definitely start to ask a lot of questions of yourself.

What is it that I am missing? Have I done enough training? Am I getting the most from my diet?

Your start to question the entire process, rather than focusing on your process and refining on areas you can improve.

It is easy to hit the panic button, and I certainly wasn’t too far away from doing so.

As such, I have taken on a change in mindset – mainly because I have had a failure at an Olympics before, and I didn’t want my whole Ski Cross journey to be defined by the big event in February.

I want my performance to be defined by how I manage myself holistically.

It’s important I focus on managing what I can control and letting go of the things that I can’t.

sami kennedy-sim

That has always held me in good stead, especially when I have enjoyed success in the sport, including when I won my first silver medal in 2017.

I have to have full trust and faith in everything my team and I have been working towards. The belief and pride in us as a unit, will be how I feel on the 23rd of February when the race is over.

Having competed at the Sochi Winter Olympic games four years ago I know what to expect this time.

I bowed out of my first Olympics after crashing out in the first round of the competition. But in a funny roundabout way, those games gave me the ultimate preparation kit for 2018.

I was an Olympic rookie. I was super ‘green’ and to be honest just ultra excited to be there in the first place.

I had a major health problem leading into Sochi, so it was an accomplishment just to compete.

That’s not the case this time around – I come into these games so much more competitive-regardless of what the results say on paper. I am Strong, Fast and Proud to represent Australia at the highest level.

I am ready – Bring on Pyeongchang 2018.

Sami Kennedy-Sim

Sami Kennedy-Sim is an Australian freestyle skier & Olympian from Manly, New South Wales.

Sami made her olympic debut at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games, competing in the freestyle skiing discipline of ski-cross.

She is ready for what shapes as an exciting season for her.