Second time around feels just as good for Eleebana aeriel skiier Samantha Wells but for this campaign she brings a new arsenal of tricks to the Winter Olympic mountain.
The 28-year-old, speaking to the Newcastle Herald from PyeongChang, reckons the experience of a Games debut in Sochi four years ago will hold her in good stead over the next fortnight.
“It feels great to be back in the green and gold, and coming into my second Games I feel a lot more experienced,” Wells said.
“In Sochi I was a rookie and this time I’m coming in with an arsenal of competitive tricks, so I’m pretty excited to get out there on the site, get training and then get prepared for the competition.”
After seven years on the international circuit, making her World Cup debut in 2012, Wells knows the importance of consistency and the dangers of elimination at every stage in South Korea. She has chosen to focus on that aspect of performance rather than improving on her result – placing 18th – at the last Olympics in 2014.
“For me it’s about keeping my jumps consistent … because you can be knocked out in any round,” Wells said.
“Keeping good air and form while landing the jumps will be the key. I’m completing doubles not triples, which some of the girls will be doing, but I guess the landing percentage on the double can be a lot higher for some of the more tricky tricks which is a good thing for me.”
Wells admits to an “up and down” current season, which included three World Cup events in the US and China.
This featured a “confidence building” team silver combined with a personal fifth and sixth at 2022 Winter Olympic location Secret Garden in December, 15th at Deer Valley on January 11 and 24th followed by 11th at Lake Placid the next week.
Wells, who was 10th at last year’s world championships, sits 14th with 132 points on the 2017-2018 FIS World Cup leaderboard.
“The last few World Cups I did ok, but not excellent,” the Utah-based competitor said.
“I got some experience in tough conditions, which is important for the site here because the weather is really cold and really tricky.”
The Bishop Tyrrell Anglican College graduate took up the sport after injury ended her gymnastics dream aged 15. Women’s aerial qualifiers take place on February 15 followed by three rounds of finals.