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Nikki Stone
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At the Olympic Winter Games in Nagano, Japan, Nikki Stone became America’s first-ever Olympic champion in the sport of aerial skiing. What made this performance so unbelievable was the fact that less than two years earlier a chronic spinal injury prevented her from standing, much less walking or skiing off a twelve-foot tall snow jump that launches aerialists fifty feet into the air. She overcame the injury and went on to earn 35 World Cup medals, 11 World Cup titles, four national titles, two Aerial World Cup titles and a World Championship title. Nikki is also a magna cum laude graduate of Union College and a suma cum laude masters graduate of the University of Utah, where she was invited to return to teach classes to other students. Her aerial retirement is less than restful as she trains Olympic athletes and business professionals in speaking/media skills, coaches personal and professional development courses, hosts group skiing adventures, sits on five different charitable committees, writes articles and columns for a number of magazines, newspapers, and websites, and authored the upcoming much-talked-about empowering book, When Turtles Fly: Secrets of Successful People Who Know How to Stick Their Necks Out. . Nikki’s career focus is now on traveling around the world working as a sought-after motivational speaker, sharing her secrets to success by inspiring her audiences to "Stick their necks out." Every spare moment is spent with husband, Michael Spencer, and daughter, Zali in Park City, Utah.

Entries by Nikki Stone

Prepare Like an Olympian for the Challenges of the Business World

(0) Comments | Posted February 4, 2014 | 3:21 PM

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Photo courtesy of Nikki Stone

How does an Olympian prepare mentally for a once-in-a-lifetime event that can literally be over in seconds, but its results will last for the rest of his or her life? Surprisingly, in a very similar way as...

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8 Motivational Tips From an Olympian

(0) Comments | Posted January 6, 2014 | 6:04 PM

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Photo courtesy of Nikki Stone

With one month to go to the appearance of the world's best athletes competing to reach their dreams of winning a 2014 Winter Olympic medal, there is no time like the present to set our sights on our...

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10 Practice Tips and Activities to Improve Your Interview Skills

(0) Comments | Posted December 9, 2013 | 11:23 AM

Through my experience in interviews from local radio stations all the way up to nationally televised interviews on shows like Late Night with David Letterman and international Olympic coverage, I've learned to hone my skills in challenging question-and-answer sessions. I was far from a natural when I started out, but...

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5 Secrets to Looking Confident While Speaking in Public

(3) Comments | Posted October 8, 2013 | 6:26 PM

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Photo courtesy of Nikki Stone.


If you break out in a cold sweat or even feel butterflies when you think about standing in front of others for a presentation or interview, you are not alone. Fear of public speaking is estimated to...

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A Handshake to Be Proud of

(0) Comments | Posted August 9, 2013 | 12:20 PM

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Photo courtesy of Nikki Stone


Just the other day, I was playing a game with my 5-year-old daughter that asked a number of philosophical questions. The purpose of the game was to get young children to think a little more deeply about...

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Don't Be Afraid to Fail

(0) Comments | Posted June 4, 2013 | 2:17 PM

When I was applying to colleges, I didn't have the grade point average or SAT scores of my scholarly sister, Laura. My high school guidance counselor asked me why I wasn't applying to more challenging schools, and my only response was that I didn't have the grades my sister did...

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Standing Up to One of the World's Greatest Fears

(2) Comments | Posted April 5, 2013 | 8:40 AM

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A few years ago, I had a friend approach me about having awful nerves before an upcoming speech. She had been asked to speak for a charitable cause she was closely connected with. My friend was dreadfully shy and the thought of...

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Where Do Our Top Achievements Come From?

(0) Comments | Posted February 8, 2013 | 10:54 AM

During my senior year in high school, I decided I'd take up the popular sport of soccer to keep myself in shape during the off-season from skiing. Everyone told me it would really help my overall fitness for skiing. I didn't necessarily love soccer, but I was a fairly natural...

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Making Your Resolutions Last

(0) Comments | Posted January 8, 2013 | 1:10 PM

If you are anything like me, you have high hopes of achieving a lofty New Year's resolution, but as the days and weeks pass by, your resolve starts to dissolve. Typically, these resolutions are tied to something we are passionate about or value strongly, yet we let it go after...

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Is It Worth Risking My Life Today?

(0) Comments | Posted December 6, 2012 | 4:58 PM

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Photo Courtesy of Nikki Stone

I am terrified of heights, something few people would imagine of an aerial skier who launches herself high in the air at every competition. I would literally go in the woods and lose my lunch every time I had...

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Mounting the Dragon

(0) Comments | Posted November 8, 2012 | 3:40 PM

In summer training for a Freestyle Aerial skier, it's tough to simulate the experience of skiing off a snow jump. The closest thing we can find is a hard-bristled plastic surface, like a big upside-down scrub brush, that we call "the meanies" -- for obvious reasons if you fall. Aerial...

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Losing Control

(0) Comments | Posted October 3, 2012 | 6:19 PM

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Photo courtesy of Nikki Stone

Many people think that because I took part in an individual -- versus team -- sport, there wasn't a teamwork element. I absolutely guarantee that I wouldn't have my Olympic medal if I didn't know how to find, rely...

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Why the 'Why'?

(0) Comments | Posted September 10, 2012 | 12:17 PM

The year before my second Olympics, my coach put together a training log for me that included a lot of aerobic work such as step classes, running and biking. I was an aerial skier, so coming from a sport where a "run" lasted three seconds and had nothing to do...

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Creating Olympic Heroes

(7) Comments | Posted August 5, 2012 | 4:30 PM

I was thirteen years old when the Olympic Games came to Los Angeles in 1984. My family traveled three thousand miles, across the country, to experience the games firsthand. We had always been Olympic junkies, so we were excited to see the events "up close and personal."

I was...

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Olympic Pipe Dreams

(1) Comments | Posted July 19, 2012 | 12:50 PM

In our senior year, high school students are often invited to share an excerpt of our memories, interests and goals in the yearbook. Among a list of past events and friends' initials, I wrote "Olympics 1992." Because I was a dedicated athlete and made no secret of my dreams, everyone...

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Make Every Day Your Olympics

(0) Comments | Posted June 4, 2012 | 6:50 PM

As the athletes head to the Olympic Games in London in a short few weeks, most of them realize they have one shot at success. Some Olympians have a few hours to pull off the feat of bringing home an Olympic medal. Some have a few minutes. And a lucky...

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Banking on the Underdog

(0) Comments | Posted April 6, 2012 | 11:20 AM

With just over three months to the Summer Olympics in London, many people are picking their favorites to win bronze, silver and gold. As I recall my own experiences leading into my second Olympic games, I've learned not to count out the media's underdogs.

When I returned to competition...

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Crazy or Confident: An Olympian's Bravado

(0) Comments | Posted March 8, 2012 | 1:18 PM

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Experienced athletes often like to say that we are so confident, we could execute a maneuver or skill with our eyes closed. Aerialists have to perform each new trick hundreds of times into a pool before we're ever allowed...

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Living Like a Champion

(0) Comments | Posted February 10, 2012 | 2:01 PM

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Photo courtesy of Michael Spencer

I dedicate my post this week to a lady who lived her life in a way that many can only dream of. Sarah Burke, you are an icon, a hero, an inspiration, and a class act. When my flame...

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Female Athlete Inspires Me To Wear Shorts This Winter

(0) Comments | Posted January 6, 2012 | 3:05 PM

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Photo provided by Nikki Stone

With the weather being unseasonably mild, I slipped on my shorts to head outside for a late afternoon run. I knew that a few people might gasp at someone wearing shorts in the middle of winter in a...

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