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  • when I was a young child and people ask me what I wanted to be.

  • When I was older, I had two dreams and minds.

  • Either wanted to be a doctor or a chicken catcher.

  • I'm now a professional freestyle skier.

  • I specialize in slip cell and in bigger.

  • I've even wants some bling, and I also have a degree in your science now for the curious minds in here.

  • It was my older brother, Julian, who inspired me to be a chicken catcher.

  • He told me that they made a lot of money around Christmas time because hey said that everybody ate chicken for the Christmas dinner.

  • Well, I'm 28 years old.

  • I have still never called a chicken in my life.

  • And perhaps that's not so bad.

  • Especially now that I know people don't even eat chicken like Christmas S o.

  • I discovered freestyle skiing at the age of 20 when I was in my first year of university winning and X Games, and an Olympic gold medal, seven years after this picture was taken, is a fate I never expected.

  • Commentary hopeful in dropping and switch, she's doing it switched up 900 Sara Coughlin, believer Switzerland, and she's coming in soon to get going in for the switch.

  • Double dated on and it's a gold medal.

  • Yeah, yeah, you have the club.

  • This is a test I've got Mr I've.

  • So ever since the Olympic Games in Pyung Chang in 2000 and 18 I found that a lot of people have taken a vivid interest in my unusual journey on.

  • They've gone as far as describing.

  • It is remarkable or inspiring.

  • But the truth is, my journey has been an absolute roller coaster of failures, luck and successes.

  • What I learned throughout my convoluted journey and perhaps the reason why it's so convoluted is that nothing ever goes to plan.

  • Whenever I set myself ambitious goals or high expectations, I found that I would just try way too hot and I would just end up completely blowing it.

  • So here's one thing that I've started doing a little bit more recently, lowering expectations now expectations they usually set when we're very young Children by our parents carries with teachers and they are the ones who will teach us that values and ideals.

  • And we get praised when we meet those expectations and we get reprimanded when we don't and it's not actually until we get a little bit older that we start having expectations of our own, the natural progression and once life means that eventually we start setting goals of Warren and we decide where we won't set the bar.

  • Now, of course, there is a transition period between being a child and an adult what we sometimes share but more often clash with our elders expectations.

  • It's called being a teenager.

  • Parents in this room how many times that you have asked your teenage kids to tidy their bedrooms or to clean the dishes.

  • And when you get home from work, neither of those things have been done.

  • Of course, sometimes people expect a bit more from us than what we want to or are able to deliver.

  • But expectations go both ways.

  • Sometimes we expect too much of ourselves, and that's when the people who care about us, we'll try to bring us back down to us.

  • Now.

  • I remember when I was a kid, I told my doctor that I wanted to be a doctor myself, and this is what he said.

  • Well, if you just keep working hard and get good grades, you'll see it'll just happen.

  • Well, that's definitely missing a few things.

  • Um, but honestly, this advice is has really stuck for my entire life, and what I love about it is the simplicity of it.

  • One thing leads to another.

  • Now the fundamental problem with it is that he didn't account for uncontrollable factors.

  • And so this narrative that if we work hard at something we will achieve what we want.

  • It's just not true.

  • I expected a lot of myself when I was in secondary school.

  • I spent Mr my teenage life tryingto get into medical school, and it's something that I worked really, really hard for.

  • I actually ended up in the local newspaper when I was 18 years old for having the highest grades in my school.

  • At the time, I was volunteering in two different hospitals on three different words.

  • Uh, I was working for the ambulance service, and I was attending every single conference that I could go to Yuan how to get into medical school, and I never give in.

  • I applied five times over five separate years to a total of nine different universities across the UK, and I never got accepted.

  • Now, at that point, I'm thinking that maybe I should have become the chicken catcher after all.

  • So why didn't I get into med school?

  • You know, I might have had the best portfolio that I could have had for myself and given my absolute best.

  • But since there's only a limited number of places in medical school in the UK, perhaps it just means that the other successful applicants were better than me.

  • Maybe the person who read my personal statement didn't really like it, and that's absolutely nothing that I can do about this.

  • So what my doctor should have said is, if you work hard, then you will probably get good grades.

  • And then if you do get good grades, then you'll see it might happen well in skiing.

  • It's the same thing I can train of thought as I want.

  • I can do my very best performances and even get a good school.

  • But there is absolutely nothing that I can do about the other competitors being better than me.

  • And so setting ourselves expectations like I will become a doctor or I will be the next world champion in my sport.

  • They're just not very good goes to set.

  • They don't really give you any guidance on how to actually get there.

  • A better goal in skiing, for example, might be I'm going to learn these sets of tricks, and then if I can do them in competition, then I'm probably going to do quite well.

  • And if I don't, I'm just gonna have to keep working.

  • Keep practicing.

  • I was born and raised in Switzerland, and then I moved to the U.

  • K.

  • When I was 12 years old and I went to University in Cardiff, and that's where I discovered freestyle skiing.

  • I quickly learned to do back flips on my skis on the dry slope.

  • I wish I It's a carpet, and I swear it's made up of lines close.

  • I put my teeth through my level lip on this occasion, Um, I took part in all the university competitions.

  • I won my first pair of twin tips keys, which you need for freestyle skiing, and I waas hooked.

  • So when I finished university in 2013 I decided to pursue a new fashion, and I decided that I was gonna go and do a ski season just one year is what I told my parents one year of fun and then I'll get a real job.

  • Well, it's now nearly 2020.

  • Still doing ski seasons.

  • Um, so this is me in France.

  • My first season was in TV, and it was fantastic.

  • I lived in a 13 square meter studio.

  • I was completely broke.

  • And in contrast, of the UK, the weather was either excellent or excellent.

  • It was either Sonny else knowing.

  • And when I finished that ski season, I did actually go back to Manchester to England.

  • I got a real job working in an office.

  • I was a consultant or something like that in a pharmaceutical firm.

  • Hated it.

  • And so I decided to go do a second ski season, and this time I went to Mary Bell in France and that ski season, I decided Sig parts in my first ever international competition, and the Swiss team was there and I could.

  • I knew that the Swiss coach was there and obviously I was extra nervous and I completely crashed.

  • But he still came up to me at the end of the competition and he said to me in his very thick West.

  • You have an accent?

  • Hello.

  • It's just this.

  • Yeah, I'm safe.

  • Do you want this gift with Switzerland?

  • Uh, yeah.

  • Answer.

  • In May that year, 2015 I started training with the Swiss ski team and once again I'd reset my expectations.

  • I was going to be a professional skier.

  • No, it did not happen that fast.

  • In November that year, I crashed doing a ski trick that I knew very, very well, and I broke my A c L in my left knee.

  • The A C L is a key ligament, and it has a very long recovery time, and it meant that I was going to miss the entire ski season.

  • I went from having absolutely no real life plans toe having a calendar full of really exciting competitions.

  • I was supposed to travel to South Korea to compete in the Olympic test event.

  • I was supposed to ski in a stadium full of people in Boston and I was space to travel the world on.

  • My first ever World Cup tour is a professional skier.

  • And just like that, in a flash of a moment, I completely blew it.

  • I was 25 years old Um, which is considered too old to begin a career in freestyle skiing.

  • And I spent the next nine months rehabbing in the gym and re learning how to walk.

  • I'm gonna tell you something.

  • I still don't know if I suffered more physically or mentally.

  • So what I learned during my injury time is that becoming a professional skier, it's just not the right goal.

  • There is no guidance on how to get there.

  • So when I came back in the winter of 2017 I just focused on having fun on skiing well and skiing smart.

  • It was not about winning competitions.

  • It wasn't about becoming a first year becoming famous or any of that skiing well and skiing smart.

  • And I ended that season well.

  • Number one and I qualified for the Olympics.

  • It was super exciting that I remembered my girls.

  • So then it's the winter of 2018.

  • The pressure's on everyone.

  • It's talking about the Olympics.

  • I quite often wondered what sort of state of mind an athlete must be in the night before their Olympic events, do they?

  • Even in sleep, I just picked to the lying in that bed, daydreaming about standing on the top of the podium, wrapped in their nation's flag, smiling to the cameras and celebrating their biggest win ever.

  • This is how the eve of my Olympic event went.

  • I was crying for an hour and 1/2 on the phone from my boyfriend, who was back in France.

  • Everything was hunting my knee, but my heels, my back and my self esteem.

  • We had three training days before the Olympics, and it went terribly for me.

  • I was crashing hard.

  • I was hurting myself, and I just completely lost my self confidence.

  • The stress was through the roof, so it gets to like 98 or 9 p.m. The night before my competition.

  • And there is one last thing that I really need to do.

  • Relax.

  • And I tried the whole close your eyes and breathing slowly thing, and it didn't work for me.

  • So I went to a party and had a few glasses of wine whimsy on Australian snowboarder Scotty James had just won a bronze medal in the half pipe event, and he was celebrating in a nearby hotel.

  • Now, of course I'm walking to this hotel and who do I see on the way.

  • My coach and he's like, So where you going?

  • Huh?

  • Meeting a sponsor.

  • But I'm so glad that I went to this party because when Scotty was on stage and he was talking to the cheering crowd, I was so inspired by his calmness and his humble demeanor, and he really reminded me of the reason why I ski because it makes me happy.

  • My boyfriend often tells me before I'm stressed out before a competition, he says.

  • It's just you and you have no idea how much weight that takes off my shoulders.

  • So then it's the day of the event, and I wake up with a smile on my face.

  • I've had a bit of a knife, if any, and I realized that it no longer mattered.

  • If I came first or last, it's just I'd reset my expectations.

  • I'd lowered my expectations, and it I was just so happy to be there.

  • I was an Olympian and I had absolutely no expectations.

  • What I wanted from this day actually was just to show the world what freestyle skiing was all about.

  • I wanted to show my family and friends who were watching on TV and who were there?

  • What, where passion and commitment can lead you.

  • And so this is me just before I drop just before my very final run.

  • And this is something that Iris do.

  • So I'll fist bump my coach, and then I ski down a little bit on by myself, and I always look at the course in front of me for a couple of seconds, and I just tell myself, All right, that's it.

  • Have fun and this is me having son clearly.

  • Now there is a downside.

  • Thio winning big compositions like the Olympics.

  • Actually, I was a little bit worried about winning the Olympics myself.

  • I was scared that I would be too motivated if I did win.

  • Actually, when I was researching this debt took, I found that 1/3 of athletes who are in this position who wins major compositions don't perform as well afterwards.

  • And if you put yourself in their shoes, if this has been something that you've worked for your entire life, the journey ends and there's nothing left to fight for.

  • And also, when you were in that kind of composition, everyone expects so much more of you.

  • You expect so much more of yourself.

  • And so two years on from this day, I'm starting to understand what the rial success was for me in this story.

  • And<