Going for gold! Winter Olympians often look cool under pressure during televised events — and these seasoned professionals know exactly what it takes to dominate the competition on the slopes or the ice.
“I try to do pretty much the same sort of warm-up before every event,” speed skater Erin Jackson exclusively told Us Weekly ahead of the 2022 Beijing Olympics. “But I don’t know, maybe I’m weird with the superstitions [because] I feel like if I have a ritual that I have to do before every event, if there’s something that, like, throws off my routine, I don’t wanna feel thrown off, you know? So I don’t really have any, like, things that I have to do before.”
Other athletes have tried-and-true methods for getting in the zone before they compete in their event.
“When I’m putting on my skates before the short program or long program, if it’s competition and I’m putting on my skates, I have to be listening to a Beatles song,” pairs figure skater Brandon Frazier — who’s partnered with Alexa Scimeca Knierim — told Us. “It started, like, four years ago and I always listen to the Beatles now, consistently, when I’m putting my skates on before we go out.”
Winter Vinecki also has a musical ritual before tackling a freestyle skiing course.
“During my warm-up, I have a playlist. Every year, I make a little bit [of a]different one with a new title depending on what I’m focused on that year,” Vinecki, 23, explained. “So I just like to listen to that playlist and get in the right mindset during warm-ups, and then in addition to [that], like, some meditation and doing something that I can just do to calm myself down the night before whether that’s reading or talking to my family, whatever it may be … just [to] calm myself down and getting in the right mindset the morning of [a competition].”
Some Team USA stars, like Maddie Mastro, watch The Office before an event, while paralympic alpine skier Thomas Walsh eats a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup. However, others take a more relaxed pre-game approach.
“Heading into 2018, I definitely had a lot of rituals that I swore by and [I] did not skate well,” figure skating medalist Nathan Chen told Us. “So I think, you know, having had that experience … my new ritual [is] not [to] do any rituals. So now, I just try to avoid anything.”
The Utah native, 22, continued: “Every single day is a new day. Every opportunity is a new opportunity. Every competition’s gonna be different. So if I stick to some ritual that I think has some, you know, performance benefit, it likely won’t have much of a benefit.”
For more on these athletes’ superstitions and pre-competition rituals, check out the video above!
To learn more about all the Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls, visit TeamUSA.org. Watch the Winter Olympics, beginning this February, and the Winter Paralympics, beginning this March, on NBC.