Neilly Ross [Canada] made the trick finals at just 12 years old, placing 10th with a score of 6,920 points, and won her first medal competing for Team Canada, which placed second.
What were your first reactions when you found out you were selected to join Team Canada at Worlds?
Well I was really, really shocked at first. At the same time, I was really excited, surprised, motivated and just really happy that I was given this opportunity to go and represent Team Canada.
What were your goals going into your first Worlds at just 12 years old?
I was going to go try and do my best and have fun. I knew this tournament would also just give me so much experience that can only help me as I continue to compete in other tournaments. I wanted to help out the team in anyway that I could but mostly go for the experience.
So when you found out you made the finals, you must have been pretty excited?
Yea! My highlight was probably that I made the cut for the finals. I was really happy and surprised at the same time. I didn’t really think that I would make it into the finals, so that was a big positive surprise for me.
How was it having your dad there with you?
My dad is my biggest supporter, and he really helped me there. He told me that I will have lots of more tournaments in my life and to just enjoy the whole experience and have fun. “Go do what you can,” he told me.
Stephen Neveu [Canada] is just 20 years old, but he placed in fourth with a score of 3 at 41 off (10.25 m) after losing against Winter in the runoff. He also helped Team Canada win silver in the team overall competition.
How was your mind set going into your first Worlds?
I had the goal of making the finals and would have been happy with that. There was a huge amount of nerves, but I tried to just focus on the process I go through before and while I ski to calm me down.
You’re at your first Worlds, and right away, you had a runoff for a medal position. How did you deal with this mentally?
It was a roller coaster of emotions. Once we knew there was a runoff, I tried to prepare like it was just another tournament set. I was still fairly warm from earlier, so it was just a matter of preparing for 39 right off the dock, and it didn’t go so well. I overcompensated on the aggression I thought I would need for my gate at 39, and 2 ball was just the aftermath. At first, I was pretty disappointed with how I finished in the runoff, but after a few hours, it all settled in on what had happened.
Looking back, what are you taking with you from these Worlds? What experiences have you gained?
Being part of Team Canada and helping get a silver medal was probably the highlight of Worlds for me. I’ve learned that anything can happen at Worlds — one moment you can be disappointed on how you skied and how you think you placed, but it only takes a few skiers to not ski up to their abilities, and you can be right back in the hunt. Waiting around for that is one of the toughest parts.
You’ve had a standout 2013 season. What are your goals for 2014?
For 2014, I’m really going to focus on skiing and hope to see it translate into some big scores. I would like to try and do all of the major events in 2014. Every event is another learning experience, and skiing against the top skiers is a pretty awesome way to spend a weekend. I want to make the finals in major events that I enter. Another goal for next year would be to break the Canadian Mens Open record. I know I can do it, but its going to take a huge amount of focus to get there.