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What I learnt from Jacqui Cooper

It’s not every day you get to pick the brain of someone described by good judges as THE GREATEST AERIAL SKIER OF ALL TIME. Jacqui Cooper is a 5 times world champion, she has been selected to 5 Olympic teams in a career that has spun over 21 years. Her distinguished career has also included participating in 139 World Cup Events, 9 World Championships and she has 39 World Cup Medals and 24 World Cup Wins. When you realise the amount of injury she has had to overcome and the courage of comeback after comeback, the story of Jacqui Cooper is one we should embrace and acknowledge.


To listen to the entire interview please  use the player below

The key lessons I learnt from Jacqui in my interview were:




I asked Jacqui about sacrifices and how that influenced her career. Jacqui had to make a tonne of personal sacrifices which included living overseas for 20 years, removing herself from her family where she was a triplet and coming back from injury.

However she didn’t see it as a sacrifice but a privilege. To quote Jacqui

“I never once use that word sacrifice. I didn't see any of it as a sacrifice, what I saw was that I had an awesome job where I get to Somersault on anything other than my parents bed and trampoline and I get to go to the best ski resorts in the world I'm funded and I'm making some really good money and I'm actually the best of the world. Sacrifice didn't even come into it you just can't love winning and you can't just love wearing the yellow (leaders) bib. You actually have to love all of it, the cold mornings, living away from the family, the rehab, the injuries getting yourself up out of the snow, the terrible results, missed opportunities you have to love all of it and if you love all of it there is nothing to sacrifice”




How to we bounce back from adversity? Do we use it to grow or do we surrender to it’s pressure. In our interview, Jacqui makes some great points on adversity and building from your experiences.

To quote Jacqui:

“Overcoming adversity is like putting pennies into a bank. All of a sudden my bank is getting full and I come out with greater life skills, more resilience, a greater belief in myself that wasn't there early on because in my sport these life experiences you can't get from university, you can't get anywhere else and at the end of the day when you standing at the top of the hill there's no one there to hold your hand. It teaches you to be connected, you need to know what you’re doing, and you need to believe in yourself”





I see this a lot in the privileged position I have interviewing some of the most successful athletes in the world. Even I at times fail to reflect on some of the great things I have achieved and are always onto the next without embracing the current.

In our interview, Jacqui reflects having 8 crystal world cups in her cupboard, not celebrating her wins and she not even spending a couple of minutes with them before putting them in the cupboard. While she reflects now this is similar to 7 time women’s world champion surfer Layne Beachley who also went through a period of 6 championships without embracing her achievements.

While it’s great to be forward thinking, I feel it is very important to also embrace our achievements and reflect on how far we have come.



While Jacqui didn’t receive support from her father at the beginning of her career, she had someone who did in Geoff Lipshut who recruited her as a teenage trampolinist and created her a 10 year plan to the world champion ship. Her mum was also a key person to keep her accountable on her journey. From that day being presented her plan, she worked hard every day, she was fear less and made an unwavering commitment to take on the plan.

“Most 16 year olds when presented with an opportunity, a small opportunity of being the best in the world would go this is too much hard work. I just grabbed on to it maybe I did because my dad didn't think I would be successful he wasn't a very positive person or because this guy took such an interest in me I didn't want to let him down”

We can’t make people support everything we do. We can however chose the people we surround ourselves with. It’s interesting in Jacqui’s case her motivation came from her father not supporting her, but with the right mindset and people around her she was able to overcome that obstacle and still become the best in the world. To love the fact of working to a plan.


A great quote I once read was from Benjamin Franklin “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail”




Jacqui had an interesting analogy using an example she learnt from a flight attendant.

“A flight attendant told me once people in first class are just awesome, they are happy, they are nice and easy going. The people in Business Class are the hardest class to manage and the people in economy there just happy to be on there once in a lifetime trip. Business class usually are the ones who speak the loudest, have the biggest attitudes possibly because they didn’t get to first class”.

It’s an interesting quote and points a lot to our attitude. Whether we win or lose we can control our attitude and how we treat others. While it’s great to have confidence, coming with a positive attitude is something we can control.

To end the interview she also left me a fantastic quote to back up the importance of attitude:

“I always say that if you approach everyday whether it's in sport, school or business with a champion attitude you always get champion results. Your attitude is how you handle adversity and how you handle teammates, all the people in your workplace and that's how you handle your competition. If you can handle that with a champion’s mindset and attitude, you can brush it off and get back out there. The results will come it's about longevity and persistence and continuing to build when so many people are willing to throw the towel”


To sum up the key lessons I learnt from Jacqui in my interview:







If you enjoyed the article be sure to share it with your family and friends and if you haven’t yet check out some incredible stories of our Australian and Kiwi athletes on Talking with TK, which you can subscribe for FREE on iTunes and Stitcher or you can listen directly through the website.


Be sure to continue to follow Jacqui on her journey, she is an incredible motivational speaker.




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