Winter Olympian hurtles head-first into new career - Orchard Hills

Published: 18 Nov 2022 12:18pm

It’s a world away from speeding head-first on a sled at 130-kilometres an hour along a twisting icy track but rookie firefighter Emma Lincoln-Smith is eagerly embracing her latest challenge.

The Winter Olympian is one of 227 Fire and Rescue NSW (FRNSW) recruits who have graduated today from the Emergency Services Academy at Orchard Hills in Sydney’s west.

36-year-old Emma grew up in Narrabeen, a long way from the snow, and originally took up track and field athletics, beach sprinting for Surf Life Saving and surfing on the northern beaches of Sydney.

She was talent-selected by the Australian Institute of Sport as a potential competitor in the snow sport of “Skeleton,” a discipline that requires a participant to sprint and throw themselves, stomach-down, onto a tiny sled at high-speed around winding tracks up to one-and-a-half-kilometres long.

“I tried out alongside 60 other people and from there 10 of us got picked to go to Calgary to try the sport,” Emma said, “Then from there they chose five for the World Cup circuit.”

Emma finished seventh in two World Cups, a great result for a nation not traditionally known as an alpine sporting powerhouse.

“It came very naturally to me, I don’t know why…I think because I surfed…just the body awareness and the ability to kind of go with the flow and move with the curve…”

“I competed for 12 years and went to the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada, in 2010 where I finished 10th.

“I was three-tenths of a second off a medal, so it was close, there was nothing in it.

“It was my third run of the games and I made a tiny little error and that was it.”

Fast forward 12 years and Emma’s sights are now firmly on establishing her value as a NSW firefighter.

“It was a great experience and I love it and I miss it, but I had to move on at some point, while I still had some brain cells.

“I’ll be joining a fire station shortly and I’ll be with people that I’ll have to work very closely with…and I just don’t want to let anyone down.

“I think I’ll fit in really well and I can’t wait…just excited, more than anything, just excited.”

Updated: 30 Jan 2023 09:13pm

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