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Olympic diary: A change of plans

Emily Cook, a 22-year-old on the U.S. ski team that is based at Park City, Utah, shares a weekly diary on her preparations for the Olympics.

As week one of camp progressed, my teammates and I eagerly awaited the snow to fall at Apex Mountain. Unfortunately, it didn't. Because we couldn't jump, we spent most of our time in the gym continuing our off-snow dry-land training routine.

Birthdate: July 1, 1979
Hometown: Belmont, Mass.
Sport: Freestyle skiing -- aerialist
Accomplishments: The No. 1 freestyle aerialist in the United States, she won the gold medal at the 2001 U.S. Championships and the silver medal at the 2001 Grand Nationals. She won a bronze medal at the 2001 World Cup at Deer Valley.
Personal: She attends the University of Utah. When she's not on the slopes, she enjoys scuba diving, rock climbing, yoga, fly-fishing and reading.

When she was only 2 years old, her mother was killed by a drunk driver. Her father taught her how to ski when she was 4.

For me, this routine consists of lifting weights, intense core workouts of abdominal and back exercises as well as interval workouts on the bike. I also incorporated visualization and landing drills, which include jumping off anything high and practicing snow landing techniques, doing yoga videos at the hotel and even going to the pool and diving off 1- and 3-meter boards to simulate flipping in the air and have a little fun. Needless to say it was a week of anticipation. With the Olympics less than 80 days away we are all getting very anxious to start training on snow.

Our coaches made the decision to change our schedule and head home, we simply couldn't sit and wish for snow forever. We had a meeting, packed our bags and headed for the airport at 1 a.m. on Sunday to make the trek back to a snowless Park City. We were fortunate to be traveling on the evening of the Leonid meteor shower and had a great show the whole ride to the airport.

As an athlete I have learned to be flexible and to trust my coaches and the decisions they make to benefit our team. They have decided that the best solution would be to take a week off and then head to Fortress Mountain in the Canadian Rockies where the Canadian aerial team has been training. The Canadians have graciously allowed us to jump with them over the next three weeks. And, as the jump site already has been built, we will be guaranteed training time as soon as we get there.

I am disappointed that training has been put on hold, however, this new plan has allowed me to come home to Boston for Thanksgiving. Thursday, I had dinner with my dad, grandpa, aunts, uncles, and cousins, which is something that means the world to me. We ate turkey and stuffing and sat on the couch to catch up and laugh and recall for what it is we are truly thankful.