Sporting Schools School Yard to Sports Star Sami Kennedy Sim
Image: Olympian Sami Kennedy-Sim in action.
Sami Kennedy-Sim made her Olympic debut competing in the Freestyle Skiing discipline of Ski Cross at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games.
Her road to her first Olympic Winter Games was made even more incredible after she suffered an infarct stroke (cerebral infarction) in 2013. While the stroke was relatively minor and she was able to return to light training a couple of months later, it showed her strong resilience and determination to make it to the Olympic Games.
When she returned to racing in late 2013 her big breakthrough came at the Val Thorens World Cup in France as the qualifying period was ending. She qualified 30th fastest and fought her way through the rounds to finish fourth, just off the podium.
Kennedy-Sim will compete in her second Winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang. Taking time out from her busy schedule, she reflects on where it all began.
What are your memories of playing sport at school? What sports did you play?
School sport was the MOST important thing to me whilst at school. I enjoyed being outdoors and trying new things. I played soccer, touch football, surf life-saving and represented my school at state swimming, cross-country running and athletics.
How did you get into skiing?
I started skiing on family holidays to the NSW snowfields as a child. These holidays became more frequent and eventually I relocated to Jindabyne to complete my schooling and on-snow training.
What was your first win? How did it feel?
My first win was a lap around the school running race. I was in Grade 4 and had just moved from Melbourne to Sydney. I was challenged in the school year by a girl the year above me. (I won that race and it felt SO good).
Representing Australia at the highest level is a great pleasure. Putting on your Australian uniform, focusing on your strengths and putting your best foot forward are what it is all about. My first International win was at an Alpine Skiing event in Austria as a 14-year-old. My first major international win was a Ski Cross Europa Cup in 2009.
How old were you when you knew you wanted to be a professional sports person?
I always remember aspiring to be a sports person - my sisters both pursued sport at elite levels and who doesn't want to be like their big sisters!
It came down to making a choice at about 14/15 as to what sport I would focus on.
Not many other sports have to travel the way that winter sports athletes do. To me, spending eight months on the road, travelling to all parts of the world was a big dream. Now, some days when it is -35, I wonder what I would have been like as a beach volleyball player ... but, honestly, to travel and ski all around the globe is a dream come true.
What are your upcoming goals for the 2018 Winter Games?
My goals are to deliver consistently fast performances and ensure that I enjoy every moment of the experience.
What are your top three tips for young people playing sport?
- Try many sports - variety is key! Row, Run, Swim, Pitch, Dribble, Ski, Box!
- PLAY sport - Fun is the most essential element to sport.
- If at first you don't succeed, TRY again! (Find the fun in falling over).
The 2018 Winter Olympic Games will be held in PyeongChang from 9-25 February 2018.
Want to be part of winter sports? Find out more about the Little Shredders program – visit www.skiandsnowboard.org.au
Image: On the World Cup podium, left.