- Women's Aerials Finals
Emily Cook announces retirement after best finals performance ever
KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia – As she twisted and tumbled through the crisp night air Friday at Rose Khutor Extreme Park, Emily Cook guaranteed the best finish in her Winter Olympics career.
Shortly after Cook walked away from the ski-scarred hill where she finished eighth in freestyle aerials skiing, she also guaranteed it will be her last.
Cook said this would be her final Olympics – and “Speedy” would be fine with it.
“It’s been no stone left unturned,” said Cook, who finished 19th at the 2006 Games in Torino before ended 11th four years ago in Vancouver.
“Honestly, I don’t think there’s anything else I could have done and I’m proud of my career.”
Cook reached the final eight with a score of 82.21 in the round of 12, but failed to land a jump called a back-full-double full after a bit of over-rotation that caused her to arrive off-balance.
The end brought smiles and laughs rather than tears.
Cook said it’s possible that she’ll jump at nationals, but the physical pounding of the sport over nearly two decades has taken its toll.
“It’s definitely a whole lot of emotions,” Cook said. “But as I’ve gone through, the biggest emotion is definitely happiness. It’s been an incredible career.”
Cook saved another smile for Jeret “Speedy” Peterson, the Boise native who trained with her at Bogus Basin when she was young.
Embedded video_content_type: Hurricane for Hope
The 2010 Olympic silver medalist in men’s aerials committed suicide in 2011 after long bouts with alcohol and depression. Cook had stayed by Peterson’s side through many of his fights and he was there for her after a devastating training crash in 2002.
“He’s with me. He’s here – I’m positive of that,” Cook said. “… My mission is to carry on what he started, to carry on his legacy, to continue having conversations about mental health, to have conversations about depression, to get people help when they need help.”
Cook credited Peterson with teaching her balance in the sport – in a sort of work-hard, smile-hard sort of way.
“Sometimes, people just jump better than you,” she said. “It’s just the way it goes in sport and that’s what we love. And that’s the challenge of sports. If everybody wins, it wouldn’t be fun, right?”
When asked what Peterson would have told her after the best big-stage performance of her incredible career, she jokingly cracked the door about staying the Olympics course.
“Four years ago, he was proud of my career and I was saying I was retiring then, too,” said Cook, with a laugh. “You guys can take that how you want. I’ve had trouble keeping that promise since 2002.”
Cook said there was one thing that would have disappointed Peterson on this night.
“He would’ve been bummed I didn’t hit that second jump,” she said.
Embedded owg_slideshow: Model Olympian: Emily Cook
Embedded video_content_type: Speedy Peterson's Legacy