Just a few points stood in between U.S. Ski Team aerialist Kate Reed and the Olympics last week, as the Montrose native narrowly missed a wildcard spot on the U.S. Olympic team when she finished second at the Olympic Trials in Steamboat Springs on December 30.
Reed finished behind Emily Cook of Park City, Utah. Cook scored a 169.59; Reed scored a 154.39 following two near-perfect jumps under the lights at Howelson Hill, outside of downtown Steamboat Springs.
"Normally, second place would be great but for this event, only winning counted," said Kate's father, David Reed of Montrose, following his daughter's aerials competition. Only the top male and female finishers at the Olympic Trials received invitations to the 2006 winter Olympics, which will be held in Torino, Italy in February. Steamboat Springs aerialist Ryan St. Onge managed to clinch a spot next to Cook on the Olympic team at the event.
On Reed's first jump, a full-full a double flip with a twist on each one she executed the jump adequately but touched a hand on the landing, causing judges to dock points and put her in fifth place.
For her second jump, Reed performed a lay-full, which is a double flip with a full twist on the second flip, while keeping the body straight and skis parallel. After her second jump, Reed catapulted into first place in the standings, where she remained until Cook's jump, the last of the night.
"She stood there, in first place, down to the very last jump," said David Reed. "It was definitely tough to see her come so close."
Reed can still qualify for the Olympics by scoring well at the four remaining World Cup competitions: Mont Gabriel, Quebec on Jan. 7 and 8; Deer Valley, Utah on Jan. 13 and 14 (two aerials competitions); and Lake Placid, N.Y, on Jan. 20 through 22.
"She knows she has her work cut out for her for the next four competitions," Reed said of his daughter, adding that despite the stiff pressure to perform she appears to have a good attitude and positive outlook for the next ten weeks leading up to Torino.
"She's skiing great, and she has the right attitude. Debbie (her mother) and I have a good feeling about the next few competitions," he said.
Reed was named to the 2002 Salt Lake City team, but she went as an alternate so the team could take more moguls skiers. This year, this U.S. Ski Team aerialist, who learned to ski in Telluride and became a freestyle competitor under the guidance of the Telluride Ski and Snowboard Club, hopes she'll be going to Torino for the real thing.
According to U.S. Ski Team aerialist coach Jeff Wintersteen, Reed needs at least one or two top-five finishes in the next World Cup competitions to give her a good shot at the Olympic team.
While Reed's game plan for the December 30 Olympic Trials included sticking with more conservative tricks that are a mainstay in her routine, plans for upcoming competitions include upping the difficulty of her jumps. She has been practicing a full-double-full also known as a triple twisting double which is two flips with three twists. More difficult jumps will hopefully help push her scores beyond those of her competition in the upcoming World Cup events.
"I don't have a competition to throw away. … It is a crucial couple of weeks, and I feel that I can get it done. I just have to get results and get some top finishes," Reed said in an interview with the Montrose Daily Press earlier this week.
Reed heads for Quebec this weekend, to compete in the Mont Gabriel World Cup, January 7-8. She then returns to her training grounds near Park City, Utah to compete in the Chevrolet Freestyle International at Deer Valley, January 13-14. Her final competition is the Nature Valley Freestyle Cup in Lake Placid, N.Y., January 20-22.
The final Olympic team will be named on Jan. 25.
"The trick is for her just to put it all together this weekend, and keep her edge until Lake Placid," said David Reed.