Q&A: First-Time Olympian Alice Merryweather
If you had asked 21-year-old Alice Merryweather at the beginning of this season if she’d be going to the Olympics, she would have responded with cautious optimism about her upcoming first full season on the World Cup. Now, the Massachusetts native and Stratton Mountain School grad is set to make her first Olympic appearance after being named to the Team USA roster last week.
“I definitely dreamed of it but I didn’t expect it at all,” she said at the Garmisch World Cups earlier this month. “I had kind of planned on trying my best and whatever happens, happens, so I was totally set with my plan for the next month but I’m pretty happy with this change.”
Ski Racing Media was able to catch up with Merryweather as she prepares for the Games to get he thoughts on heading to Korea, her World Junior title, and what else she plans on getting up to over the next few weeks.
SRM: What does it mean to you personally to go to the Olympics?
AM: Going to the Olympics has been a lifelong dream of mine. I’m that person that cries watching Olympic awards ceremonies on TV and gets goosebumps every time an Olympic commercial comes on, so it’s going to be very emotional to be there and know that I earned my spot on Team USA.
SRM: PyeongChang will be your first Olympics. What do you expect the Games to be like?
AM: I can’t say I really have any expectations of what the Games will be like. I am just looking forward to embracing the whole experience and enjoying every second!
SRM: What do you hope to take with you from the Olympics and what personal goals do you have for the Olympics?
AM: I’m hoping to walk away from the Olympics with more confidence and comfort competing at the highest level. My main goals are to take advantage of every opportunity I get and enjoy the experience, and also to give my all in whichever event I may start.
SRM: Which events do you hope to start in?
AM: I dont know what events I will be starting, but since we are headed to Korea with such a stacked team, I will be happy to start anything!
SRM: What’s your favorite discipline and why?
AM: My favorite event is super-G. I like the combination of technique and high speed that sets it apart from both giant slalom and downhill.
SRM: What was it like to become World Junior Champion in downhill last year?
AM: Becoming World Junior Champion in the downhill in Are last year was really special. Though I had been sick the week before the race and underperformed in the training runs, I trusted the hard work I had put into training for the past year and executed my plan. I was especially lucky that my parents were there to see it!
SRM: What did you learn at World Juniors that might be of help for the Olympics?
AM: My World Juniors victory taught me not to count myself out. I will definitely carry that lesson into the Olympics and remember to trust and believe in myself.
SRM: What is your favorite thing to do during the race season besides skiing?
AM: To disconnect from skiing, I like to play the ukulele. I’m not very good, but singing and playing totally relaxes me and separates me from the stresses of my sport. I travel pretty much everywhere with my uke so I play every few days if not more.
SRM: What do you consider your biggest strength and why?
AM: I think my biggest strength is my positivity. Alpine skiing can beat you down, but I always remind myself how lucky I am to do what I love, and I truly believe that a happy skier is a fast skier.
SRM: What would you like to do or experience on a free day in PyeongChang?
AM: If I have a free day in PyeongChang I want to go watch other Team USA athletes compete! A good friend of mine from Stratton Mountain School, Caroline Claire, will be competing in slopestyle skiing, so to watch her would be really fun.
SRM: Who is your sports idol and why?
AM: As a kid, my idol was Picabo Street. My family and I met her in Park City when we were there for (my brother to compete in) NASTAR nationals in 2002, and even as a five year old I was so starstruck.
SRM: If you could wish for one person who would be able to come to your races at the Olympics, who would you pick and why?
AM: If one person could come watch me compete at the Olympic Games it would be my brother, Simon. I grew up chasing him around the mountains of New Hampshire, and our friendly competition started me on the path to where I am today.