One of the oldest clichés in the sports world is, “Practice makes perfect.”
Long Valley’s Mike Rossi knows all about practice. And while it may not make him perfect, enough of it has given him the opportunity of a lifetime–to travel as a member of this year’s World Cup team.
Rossi, a freestyle aerialist on the United States Ski Team, had a stellar summer practice and performance season, completing a quadruple twisting triple back flip, along with a plethora of other tongue-twisting, stomach-squeezing jumps.
It was that summer session, Rossi says, that caught the attention of team coach Todd Ossian, who asked Rossi to join the traveling team.
“I kind of expected (to be asked) because my jumps went really well, but it was still really exciting,” Rossi said. “[Ossian] said he wanted me to represent the U.S., which is an honor.”
Nicknamed “Jersey Mike,” Rossi will be joined by five other ski team members on the trip, which begins in Beijing, China on January 5, 2013. From there, Rossi and the team will travel through Quebec, Lake Placid, Calgary, Park City, and Sochi, Russia at the new aerials site being built for the 2014 winter Olympics.
And it’s those Olympics that stand as the light at the end of the tunnel for Rossi, who says he’ll use the World Cup as a launch pad to become a stronger, more developed aerialist.
“Competing [in the World Cup] is going to help me build confidence in the harder jumps,” Rossi said. “I’ll be jumping as best I can to get better, and hopefully prepared for the Olympics.”
The 18-year-old has been practicing and working out in Park City, Utah in preparation for the competition. The regimen has been rigorous, he said, with sore muscles joining him on the jumps throughout the year.
“But I feel stronger than ever and haven’t had any injuries,” he said.
That rigorous practice routine will surely prepare him for a non-stop travel schedule on the World Cup, which will last from Dec. 30, when he leaves for China, until the competition season ends in March.
With that travel and the opportunity to be part of the team comes a hefty price tag, however. Rossi is part of the “C” team, which means travel expenses will be coming from his own pocket.
Rossi has estimated that transportation alone for the season will run him $9,600. Because of that, he’s launched a donation site and is seeking help from the community.
Donations can be made throughout the winter months, and the page will be closed once the goal is reached, Rossi said.
If you’re interested in donating to Rossi, visit gofundme.com/jerseymike
In the meantime, Rossi will keep twisting and flipping through the air, practicing until perfect.