Skiing ace Lindsey Vonn inspires Chichester teenager

Yasmin Cooper goes in the ladies' slalom in Lillehammer / Picture by  Paul Sanwell / OP Photographic

Yasmin Cooper goes in the ladies' slalom in Lillehammer / Picture by Paul Sanwell / OP Photographic

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Yasmin Cooper is back from a week to remember as part of the GB team at the Youth Winter Olympics at Lillehammer.

One of the highlights for the 17-year-old from Chichester was a meeting with Olympic skiing champion Lindsey Conn.

Skiing tips for the Youth Olympic Games don’t come much more sought after than from the most successful downhill athlete of all time and that’s exactly what Cooper and her fellow GB alpine skier Iain Innes were treated to.

The 2010 Olympic champion, an ambassador for Lillehammer 2016, talked everything alpine with Cooper and Innes, inspiring the latter to a personal best in the giant slalom event.

Cooper acknowledged there could be no better role model in skiing than the American winner of 76 World Cup races.

“It was such a cool experience to meet my biggest role model and to get to talk her about achieving my goal of being like her,” said Cooper.

It’s going to be one of my lasting memories. I’ve looked up to her for so long and her determination and drive. To see her and meet her just makes this whole experience at the Youth Olympics just that much better.

“It’s going to be one of my lasting memories. I’ve looked up to her for so long and her determination and drive. To see her and meet her just makes this whole experience at the Youth Olympics just that much better.”

The previous day, Cooper’s giant slalom race ended in disappointment after she skied out during the top section of her first run after pushing hard on the Hafjell Olympic Slope course.

Cooper, who finished 13th in the super combined event, was upbeat following the race and insisted she needed to test herself in order to progress, advice later reiterated by Vonn.

“I skied out because I was attacking and really going for it at the top section,” said Cooper. “I really don’t mind because I know I was going for it and trying my hardest, which is all you can do.

“I took a couple of risks on the super combined day and those paid off and today they didn’t – some days you win and some days to lose and I know that I won’t progress unless I push myself, so I’m proud.”

Cooper went on to secure her second top 20 finish of Lillehammer in the ladies’ slalom – her final event of the week.

Cooper came down in 20th place with a combined time of 1:54.61 over the course of two runs and was delighted to over-achieve on her expectations for the week.

“Today went well. I made a couple of mistakes in the first run but wanted to focus on consistency in the second and I think I achieved that,” said Cooper.

“My target at the start of the week was for a top 30 place so I’m really pleased to come away with two top 20s. To get 13th in the combined was amazing, that will stay with me for a long time.

“There are lots of positive things to take away from the Games and hopefully it’s another step towards my dream of making the Olympic Games one day.”

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