Australia’s Winter Olympians peel back for SnowsBest while everyone else is getting hot and sweaty over in Rio.
Two time Winter Olympian (2010 and 2014) Britt Cox is a freestyle moguls athlete and hopes to compete in Korea in 2018.
Do you remember the day you were told you were in the Olympic team?
I qualified for Vancouver only 3 weeks before the games. I was 15 years of age and certainly hadn’t expected to be competing in those games. I competed in my first world cup just several weeks before and had no idea that it was the last event that athletes could potentially qualify. The World Cup was in Deer Valley, Utah and although I didn’t know it at the time, my 29th place earned me a spot on the Olympic Team.
I flew to Europe the day after to compete on the Europa Cup circuit with no idea that I would be going to Vancouver. After a competition day in France about two weeks later my coaches at the time, Peter Topalovic and Pete McNiel sat me down in the hotel lobby and gave me the news.
My mind was blown and I just couldn’t believe one of my biggest dreams was coming true, 4 years earlier than planned. They wanted to wait until after I had competed in that event to minimise distractions, but by that time my spot had been confirmed and logistical changes had to happen fast to get me back to North America. I competed in one more Europa Cup in Germany and then headed to Vancouver.
Was there ever a time you thought you wouldn’t make it to the Olympics?
I dreamt of being an Olympian since I was about 8 years old and always felt connected to that goal. I was inspired by aerial skier Alisa Camplin, in the 2002 Salt Lake Olympics. I consider myself lucky that I found my passion and goal at a young age am grateful for the opportunities I have had to work towards them.
How do you make ends meet?
I am currently studying a Bachelor of Communication part time and online through Open Universities Australia (OUA). OUA are really athlete friendly and with the amount of travel we do it’s really the only way I can study right now. When I’m home I help my parents with the family business- Valley View Lodge in Mount Beaut, Vic.
What does it take to follow your Olympic dream?
I have never really viewed the challenges of being an athlete as sacrifices but rather choices that I have made to pursue my passion. My schooling has certainly been unconventional. My first few years of high school involved having my school compile packages of work for me to take away on training camps. I eventually ended up completing my High School Certificate via distance education over 3 years.
I got used to finding bits of time to study between training sessions, in airports or sitting on the platform waiting for a cable car half way up the Glacier in Zermatt, CH.
Being a winter athlete also means we chase the snow and spend a lot of time away from our families- I haven’t had Christmas in Australia since 2007. I never take the opportunities I have as an athlete for granted and I love that I get to travel to some amazing places but I do miss Aussie summer days at the beach.
What is it about the Olympics that is so great?
The Olympics are the pinnacle event of my sport and there is so much build up in the four years leading up to the games. As an athlete, the Olympics represent that ultimate or final event, it’s all or nothing and I think that’s why you see so many spectacular things happen at the Olympics. People are willing to push the boundaries like nowhere else and even find that extra gear that they never knew they had.
I also have a deep level of respect for the Olympic values and love how the games unite the world for a couple of weeks to showcase healthy competition, hard work, sportsmanship and just an overall spectacular show.
What advice would you give to the 8 year old you?
Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. When you’re faced with challenges remember that if it were easy, everyone would be doing it and if something is difficult or scary just remember that you’ll be proud of yourself when you do it.
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