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Q&A with Olivia Giaccio

Olivia Giaccio
Steven Earl/U.S. Ski Team

Q&A with Olivia Giaccio

The 17-year-old mogul skier says she's got "nothing to lose" as she attempts to make the 2018 Olympic team

At 17, Olivia Giaccio is one of Team USA's youngest Olympic hopefuls in women's moguls. She was ranked No. 11 in the world during the 2016/17 World Cup season.

Earlier this year, we sent Giaccio a list of questions. Here's what she had to say.

Earliest memory of mogul skiing?
The earliest memory I have of competing in my sport was at the age of 10, in my first moguls competition. Although I didn't succeed in the strictest terms of results (I scored 5 points out of 30), I was exceptional in my mind. I became addicted to the thrill and adrenaline associated with competition.

Earliest memory of watching the Olympics?
My earliest memory of watching the Olympics was actually at the last Olympics in Sochi. I remember watching Justine Dufour-Lapointe prevail over Hannah Kearney, and the absolute excitement Justine displayed showed the moment's importance.

How influential were your parents in your athletic career?
To say that my journey would not be possible without them would be an exceptional understatement. They have literally moved across the country for me (from Connecticut, to Vermont, to Vail, to Park City) and relentlessly fight for the best possible opportunities for me, both in and out of sport. This past season, each week, they'd wake up in the middle of the night to watch the livestream for Asian World Cups I competed in. I know that they are far and away my biggest supporters and cheerleaders; each decision they make regarding my life as a whole is well thought out and made based upon what is in my best interest. Additionally, they are the primary fund for my ski career, which is an expensive endeavor to say the least.

Hardest part about mogul skiing?
Although it is one of my favorite parts of mogul skiing, I'd say the hardest part of my sport is the fact that there are so many areas that one can improve in, whether it be your speed, jumps, or turns. There are so many ways that one must train in order to excel in mogul skiing. Additionally, the mindset one may have before their run changes everything. If you have the slightest doubt in yourself or your training, you won't perform to your utmost ability.

Do you do any training that’s out of the ordinary?
At the beginning of each training block, I partake in a gymnastics training session. Although not many mogul skiers complete gymnastics/aerials training, the training itself is not unprecedented, seeing as it easily relates to our jumping, both on the water ramps and on snow.

Do you set daily goals?
Each day, when I'm eating breakfast, I think about what I want to accomplish during the day. During this time, I also write the goal for the day in my journal. Making sure that this is a part of my morning routine is a vital first step in achieving each goal. I also make sure that each goal fits into the grand scheme of things, actively propelling me towards my weekly, monthly and yearly goals and beyond.

Best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
The idea that "I have nothing to lose" has become a motto of mine over the past few years. This mantra reminds me to give my training, competition, and time in sport my all every single time I train or compete. Each time I think of it, it grounds me and returns me to my goals, the process, and what I'm working for.



Olivia Giaccio

Olivia Giaccio competes at the 2016 Deer Valley World Cup. Credit: Steven Earl/U.S. Ski Team

Any pre-competition rituals?
I have a pretty specific competition ritual that I complete at the top of the course, including (but not limited to) a warmup, several visualizations, times when I refuel (eat/drink), deep breaths, and specific keywords and mantras I repeat to myself. More specifically, in the moments before I push out of the gate, I take a moment to reflect on all of the training I have done to get myself to this position, trust it, visualize each trick twice more, take two deep breaths, then push out of the gate.

Do you have a lucky charm or an item that you can’t train or compete without?
My mindset! Confidence and an enthusiastic attitude is essential.

Biggest fear when competing?
During my time competing, I have learned to let go of my fears. When I am in the start gate and know I am prepared, I feel excited, confident, strong. When standing in the gate, I have to trust that what I have done over the past years is more than sufficient to propel me towards my goals.

Favorite perk of being an elite Olympic athlete?
My favorite perk of being an elite Olympic athlete is traveling the world! Already, in my first year on the World Cup circuit, I have more than doubled the amount of countries I have traveled to in the previous years of my life. I love indulging in various cultures, their foods, traditions, and landscapes!

Do you play any other sports?
I used to play soccer. During my freshman and sophomore years of high school, I was a part of Vail Mountain School's Class 2A State Championship Team.

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If you weren't an athlete, what would you like to be doing?
If I wasn't an athlete, I'd probably be pursuing a career in some type of writing, journalism, philosophy, or government studies. This is what I plan to do after skiing!

What charities or organizations do you support?
I volunteer for LiftUp, a food bank and thrift store in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, a few times per week. I became involved with them this past summer because I wanted to help out my community during my off-time.

What's your music of choice while training?
Music is a big part of my life, not just in sport. However, I love training and competing with pop music. It gets me excited and ready to go! Some of my favorite songs include "Can't Feel My Face" by The Weeknd, "Fool For You" by Kilter, "Fast Car" by Jonas Blue, "Nobody to Love" by Sigma, "All Night" by Chance the Rapper.

Favorite TV shows?.
My favorite TV shows include Friends, One Tree Hill, and Gossip Girl.

What will success look like for you in PyeongChang?
For me, success will be when I complete my run to the best of my ability. Of course, I want to stand on the podium when the event is said and done, but I know that it will be the run itself that will get me there. I am most looking forward to executing that run flawlessly.

Freestyle Skiing

Check out Q&A's with some of the Olympic hopefuls on the U.S. women's moguls team:

Nessa Dziemian | Olivia Giaccio | Tess Johnson | Jaelin Kauf | Mikaela Matthews | Morgan Schild

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