Brodie Summers, a mogul skier and now a Triple Olympian, has had a unique and inspirational journey throughout his sport. We’ve been proud to support Brodie for many years, and even prouder this year to have him as a Premax Captain.
Fresh from the Beijing Winter Olympics, Randall Cooper sat down with Brodie to discuss his experience, how he prepares and what he learnt.
Randall: Fresh back from Beijing! Congratulations on competing and coming 10th! Can you tell us about that day?
Brodie: It was a really great day. There are mixed emotions overall, I had a lot of fun skiing the course that week and on the night, I was doing some of my best skiing of the season. I ended up in 10th place, largely due to a little error I made on the second jump coming down on my last run of the night, so as I said mixed emotions about that. Overall though, we came away with the gold medal in the women's mogul event, with Jakara Anthony, and one of my young teammates Cooper Woods, ended up making the super final for the second time in his career at his first olympics. Overall it’s been a pretty positive outcome for the Australian mogul team.
Not everyone will know, but you had a pretty bad experience at your last Olympics because you were coming back from an ACL reconstruction and your knee wasn't behaving itself. I’m interested to know how mentally you dealt with that coming into these games. Were there demons you had to bury, or what was the mental process that you went through to make sure you were ready to go and be positive about this experience?
The recon 5 months out from Korea was definitely a challenging leadup and ultimately I didn't get to compete on the day and I ended up doing more damage to my knee which was obviously a shame. I definitely did walk away with a few scars, especially on top of my first Olympics in Russia, where I had a back injury at the time. I did have this weird emotional feeling coming into these Olympics, and about a week out from these Olympics my knee spoke up one day and was puffy, I wasn’t sure why and all of a sudden those emotions came flooding back in. I was thinking you've got to be kidding me, my 3rd Olympics and I've done something again. Ultimately we ended up managing the situation really well, and luckily with the medical team I had around me we were able to get the knee to settle down and I was able to ski at a point that I felt like I was not being hindered by it.
It was a weird emotional experience, right before I pushed out before my qualification run at these Olympics, I remember standing at the start gate and taking a moment to myself. Just thinking how special is this.
You are at the start gates of an Olympic games and you don't have anything holding you back.
You have got it all to play for right now and you can just go out there and have fun with it.
You looked confident too, watching you on TV you were just ready to ski, you could see it in your demeanour.
Yeh I felt really good. I felt like there was no reason I couldn't perform to the level I expected of myself and that's a really incredible feeling to be able to be up there and know that it is just you and the course in front of you.
You've done all the work and you know what you have to do and you know you have the ability to do it.
I’m interested to know, how do you get yourself ready on the day? How do you prepare yourself to compete at that level? Do you have activation exercises, mental exercises, how do you get yourself in the zone in the few hours leading up to a big event like that?
Yeh, it's an interesting one, especially for us at the Olympics because we compete at night. You've got the whole day, so you try and shift your sleep schedule to make it as normal as possible, so you plan the time you go to bed and the time you wake up relative to the start time of your event. Although I struggle to sleep in so I was up at probably 9am the day of the event and we don’t compete until around 7pm. You've got the whole day, and obviously it's a big event, it's once every 4 years, but I think overtime I’ve got the experience and I know the things that really help.
I know what I find to be most helpful in those situations is to keep it as normal as possible. I’ve got a really great team around me, we're all best mates and we just like to keep the mood light. We play soccer, or cards, or just have a coffee, whatever you need to to just make yourself feel a bit grounded and more normal, those are the things that make the biggest difference.
By the time you've made it to an Olympic Games you've competed so many times in your life at World Cup events, at Junior Events when you're growing up or whatever it may be.
It's business as usual at the point of time - you know what your process is and your coaches know what your process is and then you go to work.
Yes exactly, it's no different, it's like you've practised this 100s of times, and you're just rolling it out again. It's a big event but it’s the same process.
Yeh exactly, I don't try to do anything different at a major event like the Olympics, or World Championships, as athletes you develop tried and tested ways of getting the best out of yourself and it's no different at the Olympics. You want to stick to those same processes that you know make you feel good, make you feel comfortable and then it's just about going out there and really trying to enjoy it.
You've done 3 Olympics, massive congratulations, a Triple Olympian not many people can say that. What's next for you?
I am trying to figure that out at the moment, I want to give it a bit of time, let the dust settle. There’s definitely some thinking time ahead of me on the golf course and the bike. I'm 28 now, and as far as mogul skiers go that's getting on a bit, I'm one of the veterans on the tour. So we'll have to wait and see what I decide.
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Photos credit: OWIA