But it’s not even just about sports. It’s all of us. We have pressure at home with family, relationships, work, and it’s non-stop. I think it’s very important for us as people just to be very self-aware of how we work best, but also, we want to be the best us for the people around us who love us, too. From a competition standpoint, I want to be the best I can be as a person and athlete for my team so we can go up, kick ass and have fun doing it.
Athletes in your sport skew young—but a guy like Shaun White defies that logic. How mindful are you of your longevity, and what does it mean to have examples of athletes defying that?
I think that relates to the last question—it’s a mental game. Credit to Shaun because he’s letting us know that it’s possible to compete at such a high level. The guy won his last gold medal at the age of 32. People would probably pigeonhole snowboarding in particular and say ‘You kind of peak when you’re 27 and after that, we’re not really sure.’ For me, it’s a key motivator. I have a lot of motivations, and obviously doing well in competitions is one of them. It’s also: How long can I do well? How long I can be at the top? I love seeing people like Tom Brady breaking down those stereotypes and these guys that are doing that are also being very switched on in their recovery and making sure they’re ready to go.
Another key point is you have to keep the passion. I’m very competitive and I don’t particularly like losing. As long as I keep that edge, I don’t see myself stopping at all. I think when you hit that point, you know and that’s it. It is great to see that in my sport, but also in other sports: Guys are going longer and proving people wrong, which I love seeing.
What does your routine consist on the day of competition?
I always wake up about two and a half hours before I have to leave the house. I like having some quiet time to myself just to think about the day or think about how I’m feeling. If I’m not feeling good, then how can I get myself back to where I want to be to set myself up as best possible for that day.
I try not to make competition day any different than what I would do on a normal day. I think it’s important that I approach each day in a similar way. Obviously, there’s a little bit more intensity, and my heart and adrenaline are pumping a bit more—you have to control those things. I usually go through the motions of what my day would look like in terms of my runs and what I want to accomplish, followed by some breakfast and a good 45-minute warmup.
Until I’m dropping in, it’s important to know that I’ve already done everything that I need to set myself up for that competition, and there are a lot of processes to go through. I’ve probably have had 45 minutes to an hour of practice on the halfpipe. I usually try and do all of my tricks in training just so I feel comfortable. It doesn’t have to be in any specific order. Then we get into it and let the rest happen.