High flying skier eyes Olympic gold

RENEE McElduff hated the snow on her first skiing trip so was glued to the television for the 2000 Olympics gymnastics.

Almost 13 years on, the Cranebrook resident may compete at next year's Winter Olympics.

The aerial skier has just completed her first full season on the World Cup circuit and, after two 12th placed finishes, came away ranked 22nd overall.

McElduff is the latest Penrith Valley Sports Foundation Senior Sportstar of the Month. She has deferred her media degree to focus on her Olympic hopes.

Of the five female aerial skiers on the Australia team, four will go to Sochi, Russia.

Australia has a strong track record in women's aerial skiing with two gold medals and a bronze in the last four Winter Olympics.

"It will be tight but I'm going to have a crack," McElduff, 21, said.

"I've got to learn two new tricks, the full full and the full double full. If I nail them, it comes down to who lands better on the day. The aim is to win gold at the 2018 Games in South Korea."

She recently competed in a test event at next year's Sochi venue.

"It was so warm that dry ice had to be used keep the site sticky," she said.

Coming from a non-alpine area is irrelevant. "A lot of the Australian team come from non-skiing areas," McElduff said.

"I did gymnastics ages 6-16.

"It's easier to teach skiing than flipping."

In training 11 months of the year, McElduff is on a break before heading to Melbourne next month for water ramp training.

She then flies to the US to prepare for the next World Cup season.

McElduff has won $800 courtesy of PVSF Senior Sportstar of the Month sponsor Penrith Panthers. Go to pvsf.org.au to nominate.

Kylie Stevens

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