Jacqui Cooper reveals that no one “knew” about the strategic element of The Summit

jacqui cooper

Jacqui Cooper: “We were all caught off guard”

When five time Olympian Jacqui Cooper arrived at the riverbed on the first day of The Summit, she and the other Trekkers were met by Jai Courtney and a duffle bag with $1 million.

While the cast knew they had to get to the top of the mountain, it wasn’t made clear to them that they would also have to have their wits about them and play the game strategically.

“I actually thought I was going on a reality TV show which was going to be about who was the most resilient, who can handle the elements the most and who was the best on the obstacles and who was physically fit,” Cooper said in an elimination interview with Mediaweek. “I didn’t realise there was that blindsiding element, I didn’t realise that there was going to be the voting element. None of us knew.” 

jacqui cooper the summit

Jacqui Cooper. Nine

According to the 50-year-old, the Trekkers were “caught off guard”, with only some “prepared with a Survivor-brain”; however, she was not one of them.

“I was like, ‘let’s all work together. Let’s bring our collective strength and let’s still try to do this,'” she said.

Jacqui Cooper was “overconfident” on the mountain

Cooper met her fate when Brooke Kilowsky voted her off the mountain following the pair’s confrontation at the camp fire and while Kilowsky said it had nothing to do with their argument, Cooper felt she had a “target” on her back from the get-go. 

“I think when you stand there and you’re super competent person, you show up and you look physically fit and capable. straightaway, people are like ‘wow, okay, so I don’t think this is a normal 50 year old. She’s very good on the obstacles,'” she said.

The aerial skier showed her prowess from the very first obstacle, in which she said: “I ran across it like a possum on a wire”.

“I felt overconfident,” she said. “I think you can’t really hide confidence and confidence rattles people. Confidence can be quite intimidating.”

As for their tiff at the campfire, Cooper said that Kilowsky had spoken to her “disrespectfully”. After blowing an ember off her teammates shoe lace, “Brooke marched over”  and the confrontation began.

“I felt like she crossed the line at that moment because I think if you’re going to do something as a team, there needs to be a huge amount of respect for each other.”

brooke kilowsky

Brooke Kilowsky. Nine.

There were three Trekkers who called themselves “The Capable Ones”

Although a world-class athlete, Cooper was put in a group of Trekkers, who, according to some of the others, were not so capable.

There was a group that called themselves the ‘capable ones’ and obviously, they’re capable. But what are we? Are we not capable? That didn’t sit well with me because you look around the rest and there are some very, very capable people within the group.”

In fact, Cooper felt like you had to have the “mental capability” to complete the show.

“And whether you look physically fit or not, like I think about mental capability, I think about emotional capability, physical capability. So those particular three just looked at the physical and having an aerial skiing career for 20 years, I wasn’t actually the most acrobatically capable.

“But there were other areas in my arsenal that made me more resilient, more capable, better than anybody else. So they were a little bit short sighted. They banded together based on the physical and that was enough for them to create an alliance.”

jacqui cooper the summit

Jacqui Cooper. Nine.

Jacqui had a hip replacement due to career injuries

Before heading to The Summit, Cooper underwent a hip replacement and it was so fresh that you could still see her scar healing.

“A lot of the contestants you’ll see wearing bikinis and stripping down,” she said. “I made sure that I would always either a pair of shorts or a t-shirt because I have scars on my shoulders. I have had an elbow reconstruction, my knees are fully scarred and my hip replacement was so fresh that the scar down the front of my pelvis was still purple.”

As for her illustrious career as an athlete, no amount of injuries slowed her down.

“I backed myself 100% In my career, I backed who I was, what my body could handle. How much Jacqui Cooper could do and that’s when you get longevity. When you look at yourself in the mirror and say I can do this,” she said.

The Summit continues on 9 and 9Now Sunday – Tuesday.

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