- Freestyle Skiing
Dylan Ferguson's second attempt at a first impression
Dylan Ferguson always wanted to compete in the Olympics. He’s been number one in aerials for the U.S. the past three years and feels very confident, a shoe-in actually, that he’ll be competing in Sochi.
“If everything goes as planned I will be there,” said Ferguson.
That’s easier said then done in Ferguson’s case because he’s been in this situation before.
Back in 2010, everything initially went as planned for the Boston native who qualified to compete in Vancouver. However, about two weeks before the start of the Olympics, Ferguson suffered from appendicitis.
He was hoping to still compete, but after an infection from the surgery caused him to be hospitalized, Ferguson was forced to give up his spot to his close friend Scotty Bahrke.
“It was a huge bummer,” says Ferguson. “I remember sitting in the hospital bed with my mom there helping me deal with this unfortunate experience. To have everything shut down so fast was very difficult because it was something inside of me that was going wrong.”
His appendix almost ruptured, which caused him to need surgery, that resulted in having complications and an infection.
“It wasn’t like I broke my leg or it was my fault, it wasn’t anything I could do about it.”
Ferguson was scared for his life because the doctors didn’t know what was going on for days. Even to this day, he still doesn’t know what caused the appendicitis.
Embedded video_content_type: Aerials: Anatomy of the Jump
“Basically my appendix is about to rupture so I had emergency surgery to have it removed and then about a week later I got an infection where my appendix was,” Ferguson recalls. “It was a 20 percent chance it would happen, so unfortunately I was one of those 20 percents. There was an infection inside of me and I had to compete in a week and I had to train, but had drainage coming out of my body. That’s what took me out of everything.”
Despite the downside, Ferguson realized there was a silver lining, for someone.
“Being able to give my spot away, my Olympic dream, was probably the coolest thing, to not just my teammate, but my best friend at the time, Scotty Bahrke.”
The two of them travelled together and were roommates at every event that they competed in, but Bahrke initially didn’t qualify for Vancouver. He was, however, the first alternate, and luckily for Bahrke, he was already in Vancouver rooting on his sister Shannon, who won bronze in moguls.
“[Scotty] was obviously not ready to compete,” says Ferguson. “I told him and two days later he had to start training and the contest was two days after that. So he definitely was not mentally or physically prepared.”
Bahrke finished 23rd.
Missing the Olympics may have been heartbreaking, but Ferguson still watched them on televison and rooted on his aerials teammates and country.
“I tried to watch every sport I could,” says Ferguson, who admits to having watched a lot of curling, along with aerials, moguls and snowboard halfpipe. “I love the Olympics so NBC was the only station I had going at my house.”
Ferguson was in the hospital for about the first week and a half of the Vancouver Games, then was released with drains coming out of him. Two weeks later the drains were taken out, the stitches healed and Ferguson was miraculously back skiing, recreationally in Park City.
There were no World Cup events until the following season, but Ferguson was itching to compete as the month and a half break was the longest he’s ever gone in the wintertime not doing any aerials.
“It was a little weird going from doing triples to not doing them.”
He went to the national championships in Squaw Valley and won silver.
Four years later, Ferguson is heading into his second go-around qualifying for the Olympics and this time he says will be different.
“I feel I’ve been at the top of the aerials game for the last couple of years,” says the world’s fourth ranked aerialist. “I definitely feel that instead of me chasing the people for those scores, people will be chasing the scores that I get. They’ll have to beat me off the podium rather than me chase people off the podium.”
At the 2014 Winter Games, aerials has a new format, that has Ferguson realizing he’ll need to come with a bigger repetoire of tricks.
“You sought of have to have three jumps,” says Ferguson about the possible three rounds of competition. “The last [Olympics] they had two quad triple twists so for this I know I have those and if I do make that final of four athletes, I do have a bigger trick I’d like to use - either debut at the Olympics or one of the world cups leading up to it. It’s called a double full full double full.”
That’s five twists and three flips.
"It’s a variation of the Hurricane, which Speedy [Peterson] did at the last Olympics.”
Ferguson has already tasted more of the Olympics going into 2014 then he ever did in 2010. In February 2013, he traveled to Rosa Khutor, near Sochi, for the FIS Snowboard and Freestyle Skiing World Cup Test Event. He finished fifth.
“It was really cool. We went skiing on the biggest mountain I ever skied on in my life!”
If Ferguson makes it to Sochi, he just wants to take everything in that the Olympics has to offer.
“I know it’s a cool community for two and a half weeks, so to just be there and compete for my country and compete well and bring home a medal for the U.S. will be awesome. For me I just want to be there with my family and take everything in and enjoy the time.”
Sounds like Dylan Ferguson has had this planned all along.
Embedded owg_slideshow: Through the lens: U.S. aerials and moguls
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