Self talk: How Olympic trampoline gymnast Karen Cockburn motivates herself

The Olympic medallist shares her goals for the London 2012 games, why she loves the sport and her pre-game ritual

Gymnast jumping in the air on a trampoline

Jamie Squire/Getty Images Sport

Age: 31
Sport: Trampoline
Trains: 4 to 6 hours a day
Hometown: Toronto

The number of somersaults Karen Cockburn can do in a single jump is mesmerizing. She doesn’t just fly, she soars. The bouncing blond has competed in trampoline every summer since it was first recognized as an Olympic sport in 2000, and she’s won a medal every time (two silvers and a bronze). This year she’s gunning for gold to complete her set.

Why this sport: “I love the freeness of being in the air and pushing my body to do things most people think impossible.”

Goals for London: “I’ve changed a lot since my first appearance when I was 19. I still have expectations — I’m going for gold — but more than ever I want to enjoy the experience and feel less nervous about it.”

Watch out for: Her flight time. “Now we’re also judged by how long we stay in the air, so I’m perfecting my tricks to get maximum height.”

Fave move: “A simple dive, but it feels like I’m floating because I’m in the air for so long.”

Top workout tip: “Find something you love to do, so it never feels like work.”

Speedy recovery trick: “She takes ice baths to accelerate her muscle repair. “I just grit my teeth through the cold. The feeling after is so worth it.”

Power couple:
“I met my husband through this sport. He competed in 2000 and 2004 in trampoline.”

Pre-game ritual: “I practise self talk — ‘You got this, Karen. You can do this’ — and visualize executing a perfect routine.”

Her award-winning advice: “Make every day count. Failing to prepare is preparing to fail. And always believe in your strength because every person is capable of great things.”