Update: After twice attempting to land her challenging triple flip jumps in Thursday’s qualifying sessions, Caldwell finished in 11th place. The top six competitors, including two other Americans, will compete in the medal round Friday.
Although she has been training in Lake Placid, NY, and Park City, UT, for more than a decade, Ashley Caldwell still calls Ashburn her hometown. On Thursday, she begins her third quest for Olympic gold.
In 2010, Caldwell was the youngest American to compete in Vancouver’s Winter Olympics. Now 24, she is a leader on the U.S. Ladies Aerial team.
She is scheduled to perform her flips and twists—including her signature full-full-full triple twisting summersault—beginning with qualifying runs off the jump at the Pyeongchang games on Thursday morning. Hopefully, she’ll be jumping again on Friday during the medal round. Windy conditions this week have forced many events to be rescheduled.
An enthusiastic gymnast as a Loudoun youth, Caldwell’s Olympic dreams began while watching the 2006 games in Turin. A year later she was in Lake Placid, training with the U.S. Ski team, which she formally joined two years later. She qualified for the aerial finals in 2010 and overcame two knee injuries to compete in the 2014 Olympics, also qualifying for the finals. She finished in 10th place both times.
She’s been on a hot streak leading up to the South Korean games. She won the 2017 World Championship in Sierra Nevada, Spain, becoming the first female skier to land a quadruple twisting triple back flip.
In an interview with Huffington Post, Caldwell said her training regime takes six to eight hours, and she generally wakes up about two-and-a-half hours before she hits the slopes. “The morning sets the trend for the whole day,” she said. “I make sure I start moving as soon as I wake up. So if I’m pretty lazy… the whole day follows suit.”
Follow her Olympic journey on Twitter (AshleySkis), Facebook (acaldwell93) and Instagram (ashleyskis93).