Winter Olympics: Aussie aerial skier Danielle Scott gets more fit after injury


Australians have had to learn a thing or two about resilience over the past few months, and something tells me the lessons aren’t over yet.

One thing is certain, it’s going to take plenty of grit as we continue to emerge into a post-pandemic world, but one of the benefits of having so much incredible sporting talent in this country is that we’ve got plenty of people to learn the art of the comeback from.

Take Danielle Scott, for example. Always a mega-talented gymnast, she became the youngest athlete to ever be offered a scholarship at the Australian Institute of Sport at just seven years old.

But realising her chosen sport was unlikely to carry her to her Olympic dream, the northern beaches local — who grew up on a beach chair, not a chair lift — made the tough decision to swap sports, turning her focus to aerial skiing, despite having never been on skis before.

Aerial skier Danielle Scott is recovering from an ACL injury. Picture: Sam Ruttyn
media_cameraAerial skier Danielle Scott is recovering from an ACL injury. Picture: Sam Ruttyn

She didn’t know the sport — hell, she barely knew snow — and yet she fought her way into two Winter Olympics, including making it to the final at PyeongChang in 2018.

Scott’s success has also been recognised by global brands like GoPro and Under Amour as their ambassador.

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Resilience is pretty much imprinted in her DNA at this point. Which explains why she’s tackling her latest setback — an ACL injury that’s keeping her from the snow even as winter arrives in Australia — with her trademark stoicism.

“I’m currently rehabbing my knee from an ACL injury. I had a very unlucky fall but I’m still preparing for the 2022 Olympics,” she tells Health Hacker.

“I hadn’t had an injury in years but as soon as I tripped over I knew something was wrong and that I would be out for a while. It’s a real bummer of a feeling.

Danielle Scott representing Australia in the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games. Picture: David Ramos/Getty
media_cameraDanielle Scott representing Australia in the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games. Picture: David Ramos/Getty

“But my first serious injury, nine years ago, really taught me everything I know today about resilience. It was a blessing in disguise, really.

“It taught me I wasn’t strong enough, smart enough, and that I could have been eating better, sleeping better. It helped me tune into how my body really felt every day.”

So, as we here in NSW continue to emerge from lockdown — and as our Victorian neighbours look destined to go back into it — I thought it was the perfect time to ask Danielle her strategy for building resilience.

FAST FACTS ON … HACKING RESILIENCE

1. Embrace the pain

“Setbacks are hard but they’re also vital, both in growing as a person and for a little bit of character building,” Danielle says.

“It allows you to set a new goal, something to strive for, and you learn a lot along the way.”

Danielle Scott trained in gymnastics before taking up aerial skiing. Picture: Steve Cuff
media_cameraDanielle Scott trained in gymnastics before taking up aerial skiing. Picture: Steve Cuff
Danielle Scott has participated in two Winter Olympic Games. Picture: Cameron Spencer/Getty
media_cameraDanielle Scott has participated in two Winter Olympic Games. Picture: Cameron Spencer/Getty

2. Take it personally

“Resilience can be different for everyone,” Danielle says.

“For me, just getting out of bed and going to the gym every day requires resilience. I’m in there for three or four hours every day, and it can be draining.”

3. Get moving

“Just get started,” Danielle says.

“The moment you do, you’re on your way. Don’t let the size of the challenge overwhelm you, just get moving.”

* Send your health and fitness questions to adam@themanshake.com.au

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