Sharps hope for Sochi
November 26, 2013
When you find one of the Sharp twins around Park City, you’ll more than likely find the other nearby.
With Kimmy and Jessie, getting mistaken for one another happens all the time. Whether skiing on the slopes of Park City as children, sneaking a peek of any event they could during the 2002 Winter Olympics or sleeping in a tent in Vancouver for an entire month during the 2010 Olympics, it’s nearly impossible for people who aren’t familiar with the twins to tell them apart.
But there’s one place where the two 24-year-olds are easily identifiable – in the halfpipe. Kimmy is a Sochi Olympic hopeful, honing her skills and perfecting her runs in order to have a shot at representing Team USA in February. Jessie, because of several injuries, including two fractured ankles a few years ago, is in the background, coaching her sister and doing everything she can to help Kimmy realize her Olympic dream.
Though Jessie misses competing, she said she and her sister couldn’t be happier heading into the 2013-14 season.
"It’s been working out way better than we expected, for sure," she said. "Transitioning from a competitor to a coach is kind of natural – a lot of people do that. I was like, ‘OK, Kimmy’s going to go for it, so I’m going to go for it with her.’ We’re doing our own thing and are kind of our own little team right now, so it’s been great."
While Kimmy certainly wishes her sister was skiing alongside her, she’s happy to have Jessie in her corner.
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"She’s got one of the best eyes in the sport," she said. "She’s been a great coach. I’m glad I have her on my side all the time."
Jessie competed in halfpipe and moguls before being forced to give up her competitive career.
"The [broken] ankles were the thing that made her step away from competing," Kimmy said. "That was probably more moguls training than anything."
"Yeah, the moguls got me," Jessie added with a laugh.
Though the halfpipe skiing has been left to Kimmy, Jessie still finds ways to compete with her sister.
"I stay on the ground now, but I still like to ski fast," she said. "Sometimes I can beat Kimmy down the hill, but no more jumping for me. Coaching Kimmy on crazy tricks is fine for me."
And the twin connection makes it easy for Kimmy to know what her coach is going to tell her before she can even say it.
"We don’t even have to talk that much to know what the other is thinking," Jessie said. "We can say like one little word to help her change her mood a little bit or calm down a second. Then she’ll go ski her next run."
They’d be lying if they said they’d never had a disagreement, but, for the most part, Kimmy said having her sister as her coach has helped her career immensely.
"Obviously we’re sisters, so you get in your little tiffs here and there, but I think that works out for the best mostly," she said. "I can’t really get away with anything with her. Other coaches, you can kind of push them off, but Jessie is hard on me. She knows when I can give a little more or hold back more. Our close relationship is definitely a bonus."
"I’m a little more honest with her than most coaches probably," Jessie admitted. "But she’s a tough cookie – she can take it."
It’ll be an uphill battle for Kimmy to make it to Sochi, but with Jessie at her side, she’s willing to put in the time and work necessary.
"I’m going to have to do a lot," Kimmy said. "I’m kind of in the underdog, dark horse position, which I think is better to be in going into the Olympic year, rather than being chased the whole time. I’ve just got to work my hardest to get one of those spots [on the U.S. Olympic Halfpipe Team]."
The Sharps’ road to Sochi starts in early December in Colorado, where the duo is already training.
"It’s going to be the Dew Tour first and then the Grand Prix, which is an Olympic qualifying event," Kimmy said. "Then we’re going to come home for Christmas and New Year’s and then we’re going to shuffle off to Tahoe for another Grand Prix. When we come back from that, there’s a U.S.-only event in Park City. If you do well there, you basically stamp your ticket to Russia."
She and Jessie will work on fine-tuning her run between now and then, hoping to peak at the right time to steal an Olympic spot.
"We’ll work on a few tricks here and there and get a few things built up for the Olympics," Jessie said.
"I’m trying to work on something that can take me to the next level," Kimmy added. "It’s all kind of in transition right now, but that’s good for me. I never want to get settled into something. I want to keep improving my run."
If Kimmy does make it to Sochi, the twins hope to upgrade from the tent they slept in while supporting their friends during the Vancouver Games.
"I don’t know if you’d want to sleep outside in Russia," Kimmy said. "It gets a little cold at night."
"A shower would be nice," Jessie added.
To help support Kimmy and Jessie in their Olympic quest, visit https://www.rallyme.com/rallies/304.
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