Stacey Cook’s performance last weekend shouted, “Check me out, I’m just getting warmed up!”
At 28 years young, Cook has been working around the ski racing circuit for many years and was finally rewarded for her efforts last weekend. Cook took her first World Cup podium on Friday, Nov. 30 in Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada and followed up with a repeat on Saturday, Dec. 1 to kick off the 2012-13 FIS Alpine World Cup. Both were downhill races and both of her finishes were second place only to teammate Lindsey Vonn, also 28 years old.
Cook was quoted by several news sources as saying “I hope this is the tip of the iceberg for me. My coaches have told me that I’m like a fine wine — that I get better with age, and it’s true. I just hope the body holds out with the age. This has been a long time coming and I’m just now starting to believe that this is actually happening.”
“These were my first 2 [podiums],” Cook further explained to The Sheet on Wednesday via email from Switzerland. “It took 150 world cups to get to the podium.”
Sheet: Did you train any differently this year?
Stacey Cook: Not too different. I’ve always trained really hard, so I’ve never really had to work on that focus. One thing that did change this year is the regulations on our skis. They are much straighter and stiffer than they were last year. With those changes I had to move my on hill focus to testing equipment instead of working on technique or tactics. While I don’t favor that, it seemed to be good for me to grow as an athlete.
Sheet: What do you think was the difference between your performance over the weekend and in years’ past?
SC: I think a combination of a lot of things, but mostly just years of experience finally coming together. I have confidence coming off of a good year last year, and I was ready to step it up.
Sheet: How has training in Mammoth helped you as a competitor?
SC: I LOVE Mammoth. I love the people, the community, and the training opportunities that I have there. Through my years of ups and downs, Mammoth has always had my back and believed in me and that is really special.
Sheet: What’s next? What are your goals going forward?
SC: Race by race is what is next. It is important for me to stay level headed and not look at the future without looking at the steps it takes to make my future goals possible. I am in St. Moritz right now for a Super-G race. I feel Super-G is an event I can really improve in [The Women’s Super G race takes place Saturday, Dec. 8 according to www.fisalpine.com].
Sheet: Do you think you can beat Vonn?
SC: She is human which makes her beatable. She also faces a lot more pressure than me on a daily basis, so you never know when I may be able to catch her off guard. With that said, she is an amazing skier. Arguably the best ever and it is really cool to be racing against such a legend.
(Cook reportedly stated after Saturday’s race when Vonn made a mistake but was still able to pull out the win, “There was a second there that I actually thought I might win this thing, but Lindsey is amazing. When she made that mistake my heart actually stopped for a second. She’s amazing. She’s the only athlete that could stop on course and then still win.” Cook, posted a time of 1:53.42 to Vonn’s 1:52.90 in that race.)
According to her website, www.staceycook.net, Cook has been racing since 1990 and has been on the World Cup circuit since 2006.
(Photo: US Ski Team)