Freestyle halfpipe skier Aaron Blunck took a very unusual item to the Winter Olympics in Sochi, something that "helped inspire me to get where I am!!" and something he thought might bring him good luck.
It's a doll, a Huck Doll. Specifically, it's a skier Huck Doll from a line of action sports figures that first gained popularity in the early 2000s with snowboard dolls, the name Huck stemming from snowboarding terminology meaning “to go big.”
The five-inch figurine, such as the one made of the late Shane McConkey in 2004 shown in this post, is bendable and, reportedly, was developed to simulate tricks.
Which is apparently what Blunck has done with the doll.
"A lot of tricks, I almost feel like I've learned from it, just kind of visualizing it and just doing it multiple times with that [doll] and then learning it [in] my head," Blunck told USA Today.
Blunck, 17, has had the doll since he was 12 years old. The youngest member of the ski halfpipe team, Blunck tweeted Monday that it was the Huck Doll that helped inspire him to reach the Sochi Olympics.
It should be noted that he said in April 2013 that his ambition was "to win gold at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi."
Alas, Blunck failed to reach the podium Tuesday, finishing seventh as the second-highest American after gold-medalist David Wise.
Not only did he not win gold, but the Huck Doll apparently didn't help him relax, either.
"That was the most nerve-wracking time in my life, I think," he told USSA News Bureau. "I was just sitting there up top, wasn't talking, had my face mask over my mouth, kept closing my eyes and just hoping for the best but kind of expecting the worst. I'm stoked that I even made finals and to get seventh place, it was just awesome."
OK, so maybe the Huck Doll did help some.
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