Tessa Worley's state of mind: "You have to let go"

The French giant slalom maestro is preparing to compete in the Olympic Winter Games for the third time in her career. At Beijing 2022, the 32 year old is chasing the only podium that has eluded her so far.

By Nicolas Kohlhuber, Guillaume Depasse
Picture by 2018 Getty Images

With 32 World Cup podiums, a crystal globe and four individual medals at the world championships -- including two golds -- Tessa Worley is the leader in France's women's alpine skiing team.

But despite her impressive resume, the giant slalom specialist from Le Grand-Bornand has not managed to win an Olympic medal yet.

At Beijing 2022, the French veteran will try for the third time to realise her dream and complete her personal 'hat-trick'.

In an exclusive interview ahead of the two giant slaloms of Courchevel, France (21 to 22 December), she explains why the Olympic Winter Games at Beijing 2022 will be special for her.

Tessa Worley chasing personal 'hat-trick' in Beijing

Beijing 2022 is less than two months away and Worley is already looking forward to it.

''It makes me dream and put stars inside my eyes. I really want to be there, to perform well and above all enjoy every minute. I want to have a lot of fun at the Winter Olympic Games," she said.

The Haute Savoie-native has a chance to finally break her Olympic dry spell on her third appearance at the Games.

''It's a desire that I would like to fulfill," Worley said. "The crystal globe, the world championships and the Winter Olympic Games are the three most beautiful titles you can find in an alpine skier's record. I would like to complete my set.''

To do so, Worley -- who made her World Cup debut in 2006 at the age of 20 -- will have to rely heavily on her experience. But she knows full well experience alone may not be enough.

''I hope that experience will play a role, but you shouldn't think about it too much. You have to let go. To win, you have to grab your chances with both hands," said Worley.

This state of mind is important. She previously admitted she didn't perform at her best on the Olympic stage because of the weight of personal expectations.

Worley's best Olympic performance to date: a seventh place

Worley first participated in the Winter Olympic Games at Vancouver 2010 finishing 16th in the giant slalom, her favorite discipline.

Four years later, the newly-crowned giant slalom world champion was unable to compete at Sochi 2014 after suffering a torn ACL in Courchevel only weeks before the big event.

At PyeongChang 2018 Worley failed to make the Olympic podium despite performing well in the 2017 and 2018 seasons. She finished seventh in the giant slalom, 28th in Super G and fourth in the French mixed team parallel event.

Beijing 2022 will probably be her last chance.

"I still have a good opportunity to do it, so it's clear that I'm going to do everything in my power to be one of the girls who can claim a medal that day," she said.

Worley has been working hard since the beginning of the season to improve her technique, fitness and grow her confidence.

"You have to have all the little issues handled before February so you don't have to think about them anymore to fully express yourself on the slopes of Beijing 2022."

Adaptation will be key

However, the French skier is well aware that preparation is not everything. While World Cup globes reward consistency over the season, the Olympics are for those who rise to the occasion.

''The Winter Olympic Games is about a given moment, it is really necessary to go seize the chance," the 1.58m-tall athlete said.

This may be even more relevant at Beijing 2022. On top of the common variables in the sport such as the weather conditions and the bib number, skiers will have to compete on slopes that have been untested so far.

"We will discover the sites during Games time. Adaptation will be key. Snow conditions could be unique and at least different from what we have in Europe. We'll have to adapt and not be disturbed by these external elements."


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