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Who is Kiley McKinnon?

2018 Winter Olympic Games - Season 2018
2017 NBCUniversal Media, LLC

Who is Kiley McKinnon?

The 2015 aerials World Cup champion looks to make a strong Olympic debut and land on the podium for Team USA.

Name: Kiley McKinnon
Country: United States
Age: 22
Sport: Freestyle Skiing
Discipline: Aerials
2016/2017 FIS World Cup ranking: 9th

Accolades:    

  • 2015 World Cup aerials champion
  • 2015 World Championships silver medalist
  • 7 World Cup podiums (as of 2016/17 season's end)

Olympic experience
Due to injury, McKinnon was unable to compete at the Winter Olympics in 2014. Therefore, PyeongChang would be her first appearance.

Olympic outlook       
McKinnon has been a strong force on the World Cup circuit the last several years. After multiple podium finishes in 2015 and, more recently, a fourth-place result at the 2017 World Championships, McKinnon is one of Team USA’s top medal contenders in aerials for the 2018 Winter Games.

Ski beginnings
McKinnon started skiing when she was 3 years old. Some of her earliest memories of snow involve spending weekends learning how to ski with her father in Vermont. She was first introduced to aerials at age 16, and it was her first-grade classmate, fellow U.S. national team member Mac Bohonnon, who helped spark her interest in the sport. Bohonnon suggested that she visit Lake Placid and train with the U.S. developmental team. As a gymnast for nine years, McKinnon loved the challenge.

"I can distinctly remember watching someone go off the single jump and do a back layout. As soon as I saw that, I knew it was what I wanted to do." McKinnon told NBC Olympics.

During the 2011/12 season, McKinnon joined the Elite Aerial Development Program and moved to Lake Placid and then Park City, Utah, where she began her ascent up the rankings for aerial skiing. Two years later, she was in contention for an Olympic berth in Sochi, but an elbow injury ended her season a few weeks before Olympic team selection.

Breakout moment
McKinnon’s career in aerials progressed fairly quickly. Her breakthrough moment came when she won the World Cup Crystal Globe during just her third full year on the circuit in 2015. She finished on the podium at five out of seven World Cup competitions that season.

Q&A with Kiley McKinnon

Kiley McKinnon on the year-round grind of training for aerials and overcoming the doubters

Read More +

Road to PyeongChang
McKinnon has consistently pushed for podium finishes each year leading up to PyeongChang. She was one of the top aerialists in 2015 and has been working to maintain her place among the best in the world since then. In 2016, she won a silver medal at the U.S. national championships, and in 2017 she captured two silver medals less than a month apart at the U.S. national championships and the Deer Valley World Cup. Although her 2016/17 season had mixed results overall at the World Cup level, she ended the winter with a solid fourth-place finish at the world championships in March.

Off the snow
McKinnon’s favorite hobbies include hiking and mountain biking. She loves to travel and go hiking, biking and running with her boyfriend, Taylor Fletcher, a two-time Olympian in Nordic combined.

Quotes
"My perfectionism helps me and it's also a curse for me. Because with our sport being so much about perfection, that's what I'm always striving for in everything I do. So it helps me train harder and work harder." — McKinnon on how she stays motivated

"There is a lot of fear in aerial skiing. And I think we all overcome it and deal with it in different ways and a lot of it is your teammates. We motivate each other. For me personally, visualizing in my head and thinking about the thousands of times I've done it on water and how many times I've landed on my feet just to tell myself that I can do the trick. And if I'm confident, then it'll come and I'll land it on my feet." — McKinnon on overcoming fears

Social media
Instagram: @kiley.mckinnon
Twitter: @Kiley_McKinnon

Freestyle Skiing

Get to know the stars of freestyle skiing:

Aerials:

Mac Bohonnon (USA) | Ashley Caldwell (USA) | Kiley McKinnon (USA)

Moguls:

Britt Cox (AUS) | Justine Dufour-Lapointe (CAN) | Jaelin Kauf (USA) | Mikael Kingsbury (CAN) | Philippe Marquis (CAN) | Morgan Schild (USA) | Brad Wilson (USA)

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