French ski cross racer and three-time Olympian Ophélie David gives her Top Tips on what to pack for PyeongChang, to ensure you feel comfortable and ready to perform at your peak
Ophélie David’s career has been much like the ski cross courses that she fearlessly charges down – laden with twists, turns, jumps providing euphoric highs and with uncertainty around each and every bend.
The Frenchwoman is the most decorated ladies’ ski cross racer of all time having amassed 26 World Cup victories, seven World Cup titles, four consecutive Winter X Games golds between 2007 and 2010, and five world championship medals – including silver in 2017.
But as a big favourite entering the Olympic Winter Games Vancouver 2010 – when ski cross made its Olympic debut – David uncharacteristically crashed out in the quarter-finals. Four years later in Sochi, she fell again in the final and ended fourth.
Now, aged 41, David will be pursuing that elusive Olympic medal one more time at PyeongChang 2018.
“I still love this sport – it is really something exceptional and I take it as a gift each time,” David explains. “The key is to keep working and keep focused on the main goal, which is the Olympic Winter Games.
Here, David – who also competed in Alpine skiing at Lillehammer 1994 – offers her advice to fellow Olympians on what to remember when packing for the Olympic Winter Games.
Make yourself at home
“We spend a long time there compared to other races, so I recommend taking little things to make you feel like you are at home. The Olympic Games are a huge event – everything is different and bigger – so it is important to bring these little things to help you acclimatise. For example, I like to take some scents that I spray on my bed and pillow. This smell makes me feel like this is my place, like an animal. The scent is the same that I have at home and at World Cup events.”
Try to sleep well
“I always travel with my pillow because it is so important to sleep well. You can’t bring your mattress, so at least bring your pillow. Usually the beds are good, but you never know. It is important to have a good sleep and rest so you feel good the next day, in shape and ready to give your best.”
Make sure you’re comfortable
“It’s funny, we receive so many new things at the Games because of the sponsor rules – new helmet, new goggles, new ski gloves. Everything is brand new, so sometimes the gloves are too stiff. Usually, you feel pretty at the Games with all this new stuff, and it’s cool – but if you really love your old pair of gloves, make sure that you are able to wear them. The rules about the brands are really strict, so be prepared to cover up the name or make some deal with your sponsors beforehand so that you can still wear them.”
A reminder of your happy place
“Bring your favourite mug. These little items bring you back to the places where you feel good and confident. For example, I bring my own tea from Hungary. It is a good one for me and very hard to find. Little stuff like this will help you to feel confident and be in your comfort zone at this huge event.”
Don’t forget your dreams
“Most importantly, you should not forget to take your dreams with you. Of course, there is a lot of pressure and everyone feels it – including your coach, your physiotherapist, your ski technician and other members of your entourage. Everyone changes a little bit and you are also going to change a little bit at the Games because everything is bigger, different and new. You have to get used to things like passing through the security points. Everything is a little bit heavier and you have to carry it on your shoulders. It will change your attitude a little bit, but the thing that can help you throw away all these challenges is going back to your roots and keeping your childhood dreams. This is your treasure. Don’t ever forget this.”
For more information on the Olympic Villages in PyeongChang, click here