2022 Winter Olympics

‘A Very Scary Sport': Aerial Skier From Virginia Headed to Olympics

"When you stand on top of that jump, we’re scared to do some of the tricks that we’re doing. But then you do the trick, and you overcome that fear, and it’s successful because of all that hard work"

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The Olympics start the first week of February, and Team USA will include a skier from Ashburn, Virginia. 

Ashley Caldwell, 28, will compete as an aerial skier skilled in doing breathtaking flips and twists. She told News4 the tricks still sometimes make her nervous. 

“Aerials is obviously a very scary sport, but also a very fun and rewarding sport,” she said. 

“When you stand on top of that jump, we’re scared to do some of the tricks that we’re doing,” she added. “But then you do the trick, and you overcome that fear, and it’s successful because of all that hard work. That’s just a really rewarding feeling, and that’s why I keep coming back to it.”

Caldwell grew up doing skiing and gymnastics, and then her mom suggested she try combining the two. 

“I thought she was insane, obviously, and thought there was no way I could possibly do that,” she said. 

But sure enough, she did. Caldwell got so good it only took her two-and-a-half years to make her first Olympics. Twelve years later, she’s headed to Beijing for her fourth Winter Games. 

“It’s incredible. I dreamed as a little kid to go to one Olympics, and now here I am on my fourth. It’s incredible. I’m so proud to be able to represent my country again,” she said. 

In the summer, Caldwell trains at a pool. She’s had setbacks along the way, including hard falls and needing surgery on both ACLs. But she has always overcome and even won the world championship in 2017. 

She’ll go for gold again at this year’s Olympics. 

In addition to being an Olympian, Caldwell is in the middle of getting a second master’s degree, in legal studies. She already holds a master’s in real estate development.

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