He made his name as one of the best, trick-landing freestyle aerial skiers in the world.
But today it's bumps and jumps -- and dollars -- as the Canadian Freestyle Ski Association hired veteran aerialist Steve Omischl as its air mogul coach in the lead up to the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games.
“Steve knows how to train like a winner. The two of us had an instant connection. He’s the best coach we could have for jumping," said FIS World Cup moguls champion Mikael Kingsbury of Deux-Montagnes, Que. "I can’t believe we got such a great coach. We’re lucky to have him.”
A three time Olympian who won 40 FIS World Cup medals; four World Championship podiums, including a win in 2005; and, four overall titles (2004, 2007, 2008, 2009) in 11 years with the Canadian team, Omischl will be working to improve their acrobatic skills and trick difficulty of the moguls team.
The two mandatory jumps in a mogul course are worth 25 per cent of the total score, making jumping technique a vital component.
Omischl, who took a year to coach the Austrlian national side, had a trial run with the Canadian men's moguls team a few weeks ago. Kingsbury who is reputed as a great jumper, said it was “pretty awesome” to work with the retired aerialist.
CFSA High Performance Program Director David Mirota called Omischl a "very detail-oriented guy (who) brings the acrobatic knowledge that we need. Obviously those attributes are a huge benefit to our team; and, as a bonus, his competitive experience will be invaluable to our young athletes as many of them head towards their first Olympic qualifying season in 2013.”
“I’m bringing a new set of eyes to a very strong existing program," the former aerials star said in a CFSA statement.
"It’s for sure a different environment for me, in aerials we spend our whole summer jumping at the water ramps, but with the mogul guys and girls we have to balance their acrobatic training on water and snow; and between jumping and working on their skiing technique. What’s more, in aerials most athletes come with some kind of gymnastic background so they usually have a good natural air sense -- that’s not necessarily the case with mogul skiers. So, I’m looking forward to working with the rest of the coaches to manage all those demands, it will be a challenge, but that’s one of the main reasons I took the job.”
Omischl retired after the 2010 Olympics, where he placed eighth, his best in three Games. His tenure with the Canadians starts July 1.