Erin Maidman: Last chance to make Junior Olympics

Erin Maidman

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Six qualifying races down. Three to go, and they will begin tomorrow.  

I’ve already finished the Tech races (slalom and giant slalom), and now I have to take on the Super-G; the only Speed event that I can use to qualify. This is my last chance to make it to the Junior Olympics. I am so ready.

As I said before, I did not do well in the first six qualifiers. Because of faults in my own technique, Slalom and GS are particularly hard for me. I haven’t yet mastered the rhythmic and aggressive skiing necessary to do well in these events for multiple fundamental reasons. My technical problems really hurt my results so far this season, leaving me in a tough spot going into this race. {sidebar id=65}

This time last year, I was completely qualified for Junior Olympics already. No matter how I did in the Speed event last year, I would have still gone to JO’s because my results in Tech were so strong. I had nothing to worry about.

This year, I am nowhere near being safe for JO’s. I am not even in the lower half of the 23 girls who will qualify. I am the first alternate. Alternate positions are composed of the next four girls (top 24-27) who are just outside of qualifying. They are there just in case someone who did qualify can’t go, so they can fill their position. There is no guarantee that I will make it now.

So, the pressure is on. I have only three more chances to prove that I can ski with these top girls. And, luckily for me, this is my best opportunity so far.

My best event is the Super-G. Last year, I pulled my first-ever podium finish, earning third place in the first race. I also made it into the top 10 in every Speed run last season.

I don’t know why, but I am much more comfortable in Speed than in the other events. I am confident, powerful and fast when I’m training Super-G, and I absolutely love the rhythm of it, unlike in Tech. I know I can do well in this race, and I still totally believe that I will make JO’s.

Now, I have regained all the strength and flexibility in my leg, meaning that I can finally trust in my physical capability to handle the speed. Also, my technique is the best it has been all season, and I am starting to see important changes in my bad habits.

What’s more, this race is being held in Mammoth, giving me the home-field advantage.

Lastly, this year’s races are being held on a new run with huge rolls and even (dare I say it) a small Speed jump. No other team will have the same experience on this hill as we have. Mammoth has been training this run for nearly a week in preparation for this race. We are comfortable with every aspect of this difficult run, giving us one final push over our competitors. We are ready to go.

I have everything going for me. It’s my favorite event on a run that no one else has skied, and I am finally physically capable of doing it. I have a fantastic attitude going in, because I have every reason to do well in this race.

Now, I just have to perform. I must capitalize on this awesome opportunity presented to me. It really is now or never, and I want more than anything to go to Alaska. I have never been so determined in all my life. I will qualify even if it kills me.

Hopefully, I’ll have good news to share next week. I can’t wait.

What do you think?