With the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, England just around the corner, Karen Cockburn thinks she’s ready to go for the gold in the women’s trampoline competition.
Three-time Olympic trampoline medallist Karen Cockburn of Stouffville speaks at an event in Ottawa as gymnasts nominated to the 2012 Canadian Olympic Team were announced.
That elusive gold is something the 31-year-old Stouffville resident would love to add to the two silver and one bronze medals from three prior Olympic appearances – in what’s probably her Olympic swan song.
But based on her last two World Cup events prior to the Olympics. Cockburn is riding the crest of a wave, winning bronze in an event in Albacete, Spain, and silver in Arosa, Switzerland last weekend.
Making the silver medal even more rewarding, Cockburn said, was in finishing behind Canadian teammate Rosie MacLennan of King City to make it a 1-2 finish for Canada.
More significantly though, Cockburn and MacLennan finished ahead of whom she said could be her main Olympic adversaries, Shanshan Huang and Li Dan from China.
“It went so well,” Cockburn said of her last two World Cup performances. “To win bronze and silver I think I’m right on track.
“And we finally beat China, they’re always winning. I think it was a huge statement in the last World Cup event. But they will still be strong contenders at the Olympics. We proved we can do it. It was an amazing feeling.”
While satisfied with her performance entering the Olympics, Cockburn was quick to concede there are a lot of factors that go into winning the coveted gold.
Let alone reach the medal podium.
There are at least five competitors who have the potential to be on the medal podium on any given day, she said.
The bottom line though, is who performs well and makes the fewest mistakes on that particular day when the finals take place.
Luck helps, too.
“It’s who performs the perfect routine that day,” Cockburn said, drawing on her past Olympic experiences. “Little mistakes can cost you 10ths of a point and that can determine where you finish.”
That experience should come in handy.
“(Prior Olympic appearances) definitely helps a lot,” she said. “I don’t feel overwhelmed. I’m a little older and I have a different perspective from when I was in my first Olympics (in the 2000 Summer Games in Australia).
“The competitors who have more experience can handle it more in terms of the pressure the Olympics bring.
“In the World Cup, there’s six events and with the Olympics it’s a different set of expectations that come with it. It can be a lot to handle if you put too much pressure on yourself,” she said.
And she’s injury and ailment free heading for England.
With no more competitions until the start of the Olympics, Cockburn said she will be training at her home base, the Skyriders Trampoline Club in Richmond Hill, four to six hours, six days a week on the routine she’s utilized since January.
The degree of difficulty has been increased from what she did a year ago.
“Right now I’m just trying to work hard over the last month and try to perfect small details,” she said.
Cockburn acknowledged the London Games will probably be her last.
“It would be amazing to do one more (Olympics),” she said. “But I’m getting older and it’s harder on your body to push myself every day.
“And I want to start thinking of starting a family.”
However, she’s not closing the books on her storied career on the trampoline after the Olympics, noting there are a couple of World Cup events she would like to be a part of.
With the 2015 Pan-American Games to be held in the Golden Horseshoe region, that also entices Cockburn to possibly continue with her career at least until that time.