Jennie-Lee Burmansson: Sweden's no-fear piste prodigy
Jennie-Lee Burmansson was born to ski.
When her mother took her home to the Salen ski resort as a baby there was an air of inevitability about her future.
Growing up in a ski resort next to the Lindvallen, Högfjället, Tandådalen and Hundfjället slopes, people say that you're born with skis on, that you learn to ski before you learn to walk.
In Burmansson's case that isn't too far from the truth, she was skiing by the time she was two and took to the air as naturally as falling snow.
"I've loved skiing as long as I can remember" - Jennie-Lee Burmansson
Speed was her first love, alpine racing her first calling, but at the age of eight this ski prodigy discovered freestyle, and the rest is history.
Now at just 17 years of age Burmansson has already reached an Olympic final, won a World Cup crystal globe, struck X Games gold, and right when this soaring Swede looked unstoppable she tore her anterior cruciate ligament.
That happened in competition in New Zealand in September 2018, and she's spent an entire year in recovery.
Resilience has been added to brilliance in the Jenny-Lee lexicon. Now she's ready to prove she's back and stronger than ever at Lausanne 2020 with a new mindset, newfound strength, and brand new tricks set to wow the world at WYOG.
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Burmansson v. Sildaru: Rivalry of the Games?
Sildaru won her first X Games gold medal at just 13 years of age and has added two more since then, the Estonian sensation was a favourite for slopestyle gold at the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Games before an unfortunate injury kept her out of contention in Korea.
Now Sildaru is a seasoned contender, a serial winner, and Burmansson will have to be better than before if she wants to grab gold in Lausanne.
Don't miss this slopestyle and Big Air face-off at the Villars Winter Park and the Leysin halfpipe.
“It was pretty tough being injured, not being able to ski for a whole year,” Burmansson told olympic.org about that season-ending injury she suffered in New Zealand in September 2018.
It's kept her away from doing what she loves for a whole year.
Still learning, still growing, getting over such a serious injury this early in her career wasn't in the plans, but the teen has learned the art of turning a negative into a positive.
“It was a new learning experience. I had to spend a lot of time on my body and my mind. I learned so much even though I wasn’t skiing. I feel so much stronger now."
“The thing that kept me going was the thought of being able to do new tricks when I got back, especially because I am much stronger.”
But after the injury and such a long layoff is she afraid or hesitant?
“I am a lot more cautious in what I do, for sure. I am not just doing things super quick – I think about what I am doing now before I do it.
"But there is no fear.”
What drives Jennie-Lee Burmansson
Her parents put her on skiis when she was two years old, this shred star has spent her life on the snow, but there's no sign of burn-out or fatigue.
Quite the opposite.
Love, passion and total commitment to the sport is what comes through when Burmansson talks about skiing.
“It’s freedom,” she tells olympic.org pre-Lausanne 2020.
“You just express yourself and do what you want to do. You are skiing with your buddies and it’s super fun and then on the competitive side you can still do pretty much whatever you want to do.
Not only did she qualify for her first Olympics at PyeongChang 2018, this fearless young freestyler made the final.
She was 15.
The clarity of her memories from Korea show the impact the experience had on her, and how much she wants to feel that thrill again.
“I remember my run-in qualification so clearly, the finish area, the crowds, the other competitors. It was a super cool feeling... it was a lot different from any other competition. Having so many people from so many other sports was super cool, and the food hall was cool, so much to try.
“I am so looking forward to doing the whole Olympic thing again.”
With her talent and ambition, we can expect to see Jennie-Lee Burmansson at many more Olympics to come.
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