Danielle Scott is Australia’s Queen of the Aerials’ Skies, dual Winter Olympian and multiple World Championship and World Cup medals winner. We are stoked to have her on board as guest columnist for a few weeks as she continues rehab following ACL surgery. She will be bringing us insider insights from inside the elite winter athlete circle where so many Aussies have been smashing it this season, including some incredible young ladies – like Belle Brockhoff, herself back from serious injury to snatch Silver & Gold in back to back Boardercross World Cups over the Australia Day long weekend at Big White.
So kick back and enjoy Danielle’s stories, starting appropriately enough with her own..
My name is Danielle Scott and I am a professional athlete in the sport of Freestyle Aerial Skiing. It’s a sport that not many people in Australia are familiar with, but it gained a lot of traction in 2002 when Alisa Camplin won Australia’s first gold medal at the Salt Lake City Olympic Winter Games. This sparked my attention because she was a gymnast before her skiing career, just like me!
I began gymnastics at the age of three and by the age of seven I was the youngest athlete to be offered a scholarship at the Australian Institute of Sport. I trained in various locations and had my sights set on the 2004 Olympics. Unfortunately, I was unable to meet my dreams as a gymnast due to a lack of support and decided to retire at the age of 13. I was still passionate about being an athlete and eager to find my next challenge.
By the age of 16, I found five-time Olympian Jacqui Cooper knocking on my door assessing if I would be a good candidate for the Australian Aerial Skiing Program – a transition program where they take high-level ex-gymnasts and teach them to ski in an intense and fast-tracked program. Since then, I’ve never looked back!
Fast forward ten years and I have been to two Olympic Winter Games, won two World Championships medals, won multiple World Cup medals and been able to successfully sustain a career as a professional athlete. There are many highs and lows as a professional athlete, especially when you spend eight to ten months out of the year on the road. I love what I do though, and I believe if you find your passion success will come easily.
A new water ramp facility is opening in a few months in Brisbane which will be a dream come true being able to train on home soil. Although Aerial skiing is a winter sport, I spend half of the year in summer practicing my jumps into water. I’m excited to see how this facility will allow the program to grow and to also see more Aussies witness the sport, even with the opportunity to try it.
At the moment, I’m cheering on Australia’s winter sports team from afar because I fell into what feels like some pretty bad luck and tore my ACL in quite a minor fall. We work hard in the gym to prevent injuries in our sport and I’ve been lucky enough not to have had any injuries for the past nine years, until now.
I’m currently three months post-surgery and my plan is to complete my rehabilitation program where I live on Sydney’s Northern Beaches and be ready to return to jumping when the new water ramp opens so I can continue my 2022 Olympic Winter Games preparations.
The first few months of rehab involved slowly getting my leg functioning properly again. Now, I’m increasing the amount of exercises I can do and spending just under five hours in the gym everyday as well as an hour of half of physio work. Most excitingly – I’ve just started slowing jogging again!
Evidently, rehab and conditioning can be time consuming but I’m also trying to maximise this rare time at home. I miss out on a lot of events and award ceremonies when I’m on the road so it is nice to make the most of those and look out for new ambassador opportunities.
As I haven’t been able to do some of my regular activities (surfing and moto riding) I’ve been enjoying taking my new VW Amarok off-road whilst creating new GoPro content for the brand’s global community. It’s a lot of fun, when I do get the chance.
I also have a communications degree behind me and love getting involved in the media when possible. As I’m tuning to the winter sports season from afar this year, I’m hoping to shed some light on the many talented athletes and incredible competitions that are unfolding.
So, I’ll be writing a few more piece for Snow Action to help unravel some of the action – keep an eye out!