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Special bond

By Nikki Stone
Sports Motivation
Updated: September 10, 2008
Most people would assume that a 20-year-old guy would be ecstatic to hear that he had just been named to the U.S. Olympic Team. However, there were mixed emotions for aerialist Jeret "Speedy" Peterson when he got that call back in 2002.

You see, on the other end of the line was teammate and good friend Emily Cook, who severely injured her feet during training three weeks before the 2002 Winter Olympics. Here she was, telling Peterson that he was to receive her spot in the games.

When Cook heard that Peterson, her friend of 10 years, would receive her spot, Cook immediately asked if she could be the one to make the call. "I wanted to be the one to tell him," Cook says, "so that he would know that I supported him in taking my spot and that I would be there with him every step of the way. If I couldn't be there myself, then I was so happy that Speedy could be there in my place."
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Though it was the news that Peterson had always wanted to hear, it wasn't the way he wanted to hear it. "Of course we all want to go to the Olympics," says Peterson. "That's why we're here. But no one wants to make it when a good friend and teammate can't compete. So it was difficult.

"They weren't tears of joy we were crying when she told me. I just couldn't imagine what she had to go through physically and mentally – and what it must have been like to have your lifelong dream fulfilled, and then have it taken away."

But Cook's optimistic attitude and a very special saying helped her get through the hard times.

"There is a quote that I [have always followed]," says Cook: " ‘Dreams are never destroyed by circumstances, dreams are born in the heart and mind and only there can they ever die.' I love that one because it creates control over our own destiny in every moment, and that is what I believe in."

Though many doctors told Cook that she may never ski again, it was her determination to come back for the 2006 games that kept her motivated.

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