USSA holds video contest |

USSA holds video contest

Mike Rossi skis to a stop at the FIS Freestyle World Cup event at Deer Valley this past season. Rossi, a member of the Elite Aerial Development Program, finished in third place.

Only a couple years ago, Michael Rossi was just an amateur trampolinist, bouncing around in his backyard in New Jersey.

But now, thanks to the USSA’s Elite Aerial Development Program, Rossi is coming off a solid rookie season as a World Cup-level aerial skier. He finished in third place at the Deer Valley World Cup event earlier this year.

"That was a really good step," Rossi said of getting accepted into the EADP. "It had all the nice facilities and professional coaches I needed."

He said it was surprising how well he transitioned into the aerial culture.

"Everything I learned on my trampoline has been great for aerials," he said.

Looking to expand the program, the EADP has started a video contest in search of the next Rossi.

Young gymnasts, divers, tumblers and acrobats under the age of 19 can send videos of their best tricks to , where fans will vote on who they think has the best skills. The top athletes will get invited to the U.S. Ski Team tryout camp with national team athletes and coaches.

Amanda Revman, the freestyle team’s press officer, said this contest is a great way a young athlete can become the next Mike Rossi.

"This is a program unlike anything we’ve ever done before," she said. "It’s a call to action for the everyday gymnast."

She added that, while many people are focused on the upcoming 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, the aerial team is looking at the future as well.

"We’re focusing on generation next," she said. "Who is going to be the gold medalist in 2018 and 2022?"

The contest, which Revman said will remain open for about two more weeks, will give these amateurs the opportunity to have their work seen by U.S. coaches.

"Our coaches will have a meeting (after seeing the videos) and we’ll see what develops from there," she said. "If they see that potential, they’ll continue to work with them."

The EADP camp will take place in two locations Park City June 17-22, and Lake Placid June 23-30.

Because aerial skiing doesn’t get much attention during non-Olympic years, Revman said these camps are looking for quality over quantity.

"We’ve had 15 videos submitted so far; the number we’re shooting for is about 30," she said. "To get 30 kids interested in aerials that have a really good gymnastics background would be great."

Rossi said that for any aspiring young athlete looking to make the jump into aerial skiing, the EADP is a great next step.

"I would say to just do your best and try really hard to get better all the time," he said. "Never stop progressing."

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