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Before Sochi, Emily Cook prepares with memories of lost teammate

8:00 PM, Feb 13, 2014   |    comments
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SOCHI, Russia - Surrounded by an early Utah frost, U.S. Ski Team aerialist Emily Cook is alone on the water ramps at the Park City Olympic Training Center as the summer months begin to fade.

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She is playing out jumps in her head and fine tuning the tricks she hopes will win gold at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

"Working on really small details of twisting mechanics," said Cook.

For Cook, it will be the third time she's hit the ramp and jumped in the winter games. But in the past, those Olympic landings haven't always been smooth.

"I remember when there were times when [my friend] picked me off the ground and carried me to the finish line," said Cook.

Just before the 2002 Olympics, Cook landed wrong breaking, both her feet and opening a spot to a teammate.

Her friend, Jeret "Speedy" Peterson, wrote a simple message on his gloves that said "Hi Emily" to keep her included in the Olympic festivities.

"He wanted to make sure I was a part of it," said Cook. "In 2006, I was crashing jumps. My face was bleeding, my glasses were [broken.] I was about to hop turn down, and I heard this voice say 'Emily,' and I turned around, and Speedy was up there and was like 'You love this, smile,' and he reminded me why I was there."

After the 2010 Olympics, the bond between Emily and Jeret would be broken forever.

Just months after winning Olympic silver, Jeret drove into the hills of Park City and took his own life.

"For sure, now that's he's gone, I know he would be doing the same things," said Cook.

For Emily, it marked a turning point in her skiing - coming back stronger than ever with her best skiing, ending last season ranked second in the world.

"Last season was the best season on my career," said Cook.

Today, she's flying higher than ever and ready to give the Olympics one more shot. She's training alone on those aerial ramps but knowing she's always have a friend standing behind her to help with that perfect jump.

"I know he's there watching over us," said Cook.

(KUSA-TV © 2014 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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