Alisa was key piece in Anthony’s jigsaw

Melissa Woods |

It was fitting that Alisa Camplin-Warner brought Jakara Anthony jigsaw puzzles to calm her mind before her gold medal moguls run, because she ended up being the missing piece.

Camplin-Warner, Australia’s first female Winter Olympics gold medallist in 2002, is the deputy team chef de mission at the Beijing Games.

She also started working as a mentor to 23-year-old Anthony about a year ago, with a particular focus on mental training ahead of her Olympic campaign.

Anthony said her physical and technical ability were never in doubt, as the Victorian convincingly led the competition through every elimination stage.

“I definitely know that I have the physical capability to execute at the highest level and I know I’ve had that for quite a while,” Anthony said.

“For me particularly it was the mental side of things that was lagging so in the last year especially there’s been a lot of effort put into that by myself and my team around me to improve my mental skills to allow me to execute at the physical capacity I’m able to.

“Your mental approach can be quite an inhibiting factor; it’s a hard thing to manage and I’m thankful for the skills I’ve learnt over the last year.”

To keep her mind off competition on medal day, Anthony did a lot of jigsaw puzzles that Camplin-Warner brought from her Hong Kong home to the village.

“We’ve been doing a lot of puzzles to burn time here and she’s (Anthony) like, ‘this was always the missing part of my puzzle – I’m so grateful that you joined our team’,” Camplin-Warner told AAP.

“That’s very gracious of her … from my point of view she just needed strategies to become her best self in her own way and not look around about how others do it.

“She needed to own all the parts of herself in how she builds up to a performance and her way then became something she could count on and trust in.

“At the Olympics you’re master of your destiny and it’s a very vulnerable experience and Jac and I talked through that and helped her process and manage it.”

Camplin-Warner, who also won a bronze medal at the 2006 Games in aerials, said she could see Anthony building toward the performance that snapped Australia’s 12-year gold medal drought.

“In the last few months on the World Cup circuit she’s had some outstanding runs,” she said.

“She’s done all the work to be physically as commanding and it was like bringing the inner strength from her brain and to own it and use it.

“She’s not just getting down the hill, she’s imposing herself on the course, and she was ready to take control of what was ahead of her.”

Camplin-Warner, fellow Australian gold medallist Lydia Lassila and Anthony shared a special moment on the Zhangjiakou mountain when the immediate celebrations died down.

“We were saying, ‘This can never be taken away’ – for the rest of Jac’s life she will know that she can rely on herself, she’s got what it takes when the pressure’s on,” she said.