I have returned home to nice warm weather and sunshine, but unfortunately it turns out I have managed to rupture at least 2 ligaments in my ankle. Imaging (ultrasound, x-ray and MRI) have shown that the anterior inferior tibio fibular ligament is ruptured and they suspect the posterior ligament has as well. Thus my tibia and fibular are currently not attached together.
They also suspect I have torn another ligament in there as well and potentially pulled a small piece of bone off. Therefore, on the 25th February I will be admitted to hospital for an ankle reconstruction. I am hoping they don't have to screw the bones back together, but the full damage won't be known until they get in there. Hopefully it will be quite simple and all heal up nice and quickly. I will keep you posted on my progress.
The World Championships were held in Deer Valley/Park City, Utah, USA. I have to admit, the World Champs didn't really feel like World Champs. It was my 3rd World Championships, and I have to say, I think it had the least atmosphere. I was in quite a lot of pain and was only capable of doing 1 training run on both days. I have a HUGE thank you so say to a few people:
1. Mer Bennett - my buddy and fan from Tahoe who travelled all the way from Reno by herself to come and support me and cheer me on! It was so awesome!
2. Andy Dennis and Ed Holmes, who came all the way from Melbourne, AUS to come and support and help me out!
The support was really appreciated. It was awesome to see Amalie and Oli come up and support me as well! He is always a good attendee :)
I decided to continue on my itinerary and see how I felt in Blue Mountain at the next WC. I knew I was heading home after it, so I thought I would see how I felt. In the training in Blue, I felt like I was skiing at about 60%. After trying to compensate by using my left "good" leg, I now had a lot of pain in that leg too. My head was saying go, but my body was saying no! So I decided not to start the event, as I wasn't going to qualify skiing like this, and I was sitting back, so I was scared I may end up injuring myself worse. It is never an easy decision not to start a comp, when you have travelled so far to get there. But this is ski cross! So now I am waiting at LAX airport for my flight home for some much needed rest! I will write again soon. All the best!
It has been a long time since I wrote. I feel like I have not stopped in weeks. I had an accident in Alpe D'Huez at the World Cup on the 11th January. I caught my ski edge coming into the final jump in qualification and found myself doing my first rodeo flip, which I certainly didn't land. Rather, crumpled in a heap on the flat. I had a pretty good black eye, a really swollen cheek, and 17 new stitches in my face, but to be honest, this looked pretty savage, but didn't hurt that much. Unfortunately I smashed my right knee up and strecthed the ligaments in my ankle...these both hurt a lot!
I took a week off and was hoping it would all clear up and I could get back on skis. Huge thank you to Sarah Verlaan for having me to stay for so long in Zurich! My leg wasn't get any better and something certainly didn't feel right, although i did have stability in the knee. So I decided to go to a sports doctor in Zurich and get a professional opinion, so I don't go and make something small into something big. The doctor suspected torn meniscus and stretched ligaments and sent me off for an MRI. After 12 days off, finally I got the results back and I was fortunate enough to escape with only "extensive bone bruising" and the stretched ankle ligament. So off I trotted to Grasgehren Germany on my own to get back into SX!
I arrived in Germany totally alone. No Team mates, no coach, no support. I strapped up my ankle to the best of my ability and I stood in the starting gate honestly, scared stiff! My arms were shaking, legs, and all I could think was...please don't hit the back side of that large double! Infact I don't recall being that frightened in the last 2 years. I basically would land a jump then try to ski on one leg, I went there with only one aim, and that was to forget the crash and go to World Championships with a fresh head, even if he body wasn't fresh. So I successfully completed the competition, a huge thanks to the Swiss team for letting me use their tuning bench, I was slowand in pain, but the good news was I was off to World Champs no longer thinking about my crash in France.
Next stop, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA!
It has been great here in Spain. I celebrated christmas in true Spanish style with Chio and her family! I am now in Sierra Nevada. A huge thanks to Chio for assisting in arranging me to train with the Spanish SX team and arranged lift passes and of course accommodating me.
We have managed to get in some good training early in the morning before the public come out to play, practising speed. We managed to do some start gate timing and practised a small wutang out of the starting gate. Thanks to the team for having me!
I will head to Granada on the 30th and celebrate New Years Eve down there before heading back to Munich on the 2nd January and onward to St Johann in Tirol, Austria for the next world cup. Be in touch soon!
I am writing this whilst sitting on a train from Munich to Innsbruck. After successfully driving the Vectra aka "Vicky Vectra" from the UK across to Austria, we were unfortunately greeted with pretty bad weather conditions, which kept Molltaller Glacier closed most days. The first world cups were rapidly approaching and I had not yet skied a single feature or pulled out of a starting gate.
I turned up to Innichen, not feeling the most prepared I have ever felt, but certainly with a smile on my face. It was FREEZING! Again, it was about –20degrees celcius. It was great to get back into a SX course, and the training was quite good. In the first race, I didn’t ski well, I made a big mistake on the most vital part of the course, the jump down onto the big flat turn. I was disappointed, not really by the result as I didn’t expect anything, but more than I made the same mistake so many runs in a row. The 2nd race I managed to get the jump right but still mucked up the turn on the flat, so a better time and certainly improvements but not really what I had hoped. I finished in 28th position on both days and now I am off the Spain to catch up with my good friend Chio and her family and have a rest, enjoy xmas, eat some jambon, throw some confetti, see Granada and train in Sierra Nevada with the Spanish SX team. I am looking forward to the races in January. I can’t wait for this year to end, 2011 will be a good year! Merry Xmas!
It has been a very busy couple of weeks! But it does feel good to know that after 8 years of University, very part time, I have finally completed my bachelor degree in Multimedia (Business Marketing).
I have also been offered a scholarship from Smart Connection to start a Diploma of Management in 2011, in return for being a guest speaker to their Diploma of fitness students. This is a great opportunity to continue my studies and obtain further qualifications in Management.
With my degree under my belt, I had my strength testing which all came out with great results, it has been an intense couple of months and it has been paying off which is always good to see. A huge thanks to Mick and Dave for all their help and support in the recent months.
So off I set, Europe bound, with a stopover in Beijing to catch up with an old friend who I used to ski race with before hitting the UK on the 1st December.
I will drive across to Austria on the 4th/5th of December (pending whether the Vectra will make it...but I have high hopes) and hope to start training on snow on the 6th December. First 2 World Cup competitions are on the 18th and 19th December in San Candido, Italy. With only a few days preperation on snow, I will take these first 2 comps as a bit of a warm up and training opportunity, before hopefully performing optimally in January.
I will be in touch soon!
Gemma Biggs is a friend whom I used to race for with many years at the Australian University Games. Now a qualified myotherapist and business owner, Gemma has kindly offered to assist me with massage and myotherapy treatment for this busy and intense training period.
Gemma has provided me with such great support. She is very knowledgeable and professional and has a very friendly and kind manner. She has helped me greatly through this difficult and intense training period and in my preparation for the forthcoming coming World Championships and busy World Cup season. I can not thank her sufficiently for her support.
I highly recommend Melbourne Myo to anyone needing professional musculoskeletal assessment, treatment or advice and thank them kindly for their support! Here is the link to their website:
On the 1st October, Andy and I took the early bird flight from Melbourne to Brisbane and made our way to Apollo to pick up our Apollo campervan and get on the road. It was a last minute decision to take this break away, but with 100% support from Apollo, they provided us with a campervan for 6 days and it was decided, we were going on a holiday! We were stoked to receive a brand new Apollo Campervan 2 Euro Berth with only 20km on the odometer!
Off we set, and headed north stopping at the Gingerbread Factory in Yandina (I was lured in by the gingerbread manon the highway) and it turned out the gingerbread factory was in fact not that interesting. However, we did enjoy a Devonshire tea and a lovely homemade scone with jam and cream right next door at a little guest house. I picked up a pamphlet on Lady Musgrave Island which is the most southern part of the Great Barrier Reef which is accessed by boat off the shore of 1770. This was a new addition to our agenda in two days time!
We departed 1770 at 8am on a 90 minute boat ride with 2-3 metre swells. It was a difficult boat ride, I didn’t think I got sea sick…well I do…as did most on board including the crew! But when we arrived at Lady Musgrave Island, wow, we were faced with the most amazing blue, calm, beautiful water. The Great Barrier Reef is seriously GREAT! We spent the day walking the island, held a sea cucumber, swimming with sea turtles, snorkelling, a fantastic buffet lunch and perfect weather. It was picture perfect and the crew were lovely! I particularly enjoyed the complimentary cheese and kransky on the boat ride home...which I might add was absolutely fine and really relaxing!
That night we drove to Bundaberg and slept there. We slept right on the beach front and in the morning travelled down to spend the day in Noosa. We cooked up a bbq right on the beach of Noosa Heads. We had amazing weather and lapped up the sun for the day.
We decided to spend out last day in Currumbin, so we travelled down in the morning and lapped up the 30 degree weather and enjoyed the warm waves before heading back to Brisbane to drop off our Apollo camper with over 2000km added to the odometer. Thanks to Apollo for providing us with the holiday we probably would not have had without their support. I am feeling refreshed and ready for a 7 week slog coming into the ski season :)
I have been very fortunate to have received a scholarship to do a diploma of management starting in 2011 through Smart Connection.
Smart Connection has asked me to give a lecture to their diploma of fitness students discussing my journey as an Olympic athlete, overcoming a serious health condition, open vascular surgery, the recovery process, and returning to the elite level and elite strength and conditioning programs.
In return for this service, I will be granted a scholarship to complete a diploma of management which will really increase my skills and make me more employable after my skiing career comes to an end. It is also nice to know I can further my education whilst competing over the next year or two, I like the balance it gives me in my day to day life.
I am very grateful for this opportunity and look forward to finishing my degree in Multimedia (Business Marketing) in November, before heading back to Europe and North America to follow the world cup season once again!
It was time for the Apollo Campervan shoot that we had been planning for months, so I got on an early flight to Queenstown NZ, where I was greeted by Sarah Murphy, NZ's biathlon Olympian. Sarah and I would be spending the next few days in an Apollo campervan travelling, living and laughing!
After relieving my toenail from built up pressure in my ski boots, with a red hot paperclip, off we set to the Mt Aspiring Campervan Site in Wanaka. I was greeted by the Project pro Extreme team, Nikki and Alex and Jasper the photographer, all the way from the Netherlands and Jason who was in charge of recording.
Sarah and I shared an Apollo 4-Berth Euro Camper. We each had a comfortable double bed, and loads of room for all our gear. We even had a toilet, refrigerator, shower, sink, cooker and TV! it was really comfortable! I slept like a baby, and come 5am, Nikki and Alex jumped on board and we drove up to Treble Cone whilst still in bed! We stepped out of the camper in the Treble Cone carpark to the most amazing view with a gorgeous sunrise, well worth the 5am wake up!
We got a number of magnificent photos and some great footage. We enjoyed a nice breakfast and headed up the mountain with head cams, Sarah on snowboard and myself on skis. We hiked up to the top of the summit and took runs in the saddle area, managing to get some great shots. The view from the top of the summit was breathtaking, (the walk up was rather breathtaking too haha). We were blessed with bright sunshine, amazing scenery and plenty of snow.
I had a few days in Wanaka and Queenstown and managed to catch up with Mitchey whom I spent a lot of the last 18 months training and travelling with world wide! Sarah also took me shooting, she was target practising and taught me how to use her gun which was pretty exciting! I also managed to squeeze in a trip to Cardrona to watch the World Junior Championships SX event, although I had to leave early in order to catch my bus to Christchurch airport.
All in all a great trip, short but sweet and very pleasurable!
Check out my new video too under Media Gallery - Videos...very cool!
Back to uni, training and mascotting, ciao for now!
I spent the week up at Hotham, my first time on snow this season. We were faced with variable difficult weather conditions. High winds, snowing, bad visibility and variable snow conditions. The Hotham events team did a great job, putting a lot of effort into getting the course prepared for an inspection/training on the Friday.
Saturday morning we were faced with similar conditions and we managed to get the qualification run off the ground. I was happy with my run, particularly after I entered one of the berms in the middle of the run expecting it to be ice, committing to the turn appropriately to find it was wind blown soft snomw which threw me back hitting my back on the ground pulling myself forward to continue the run, qualifying in 2nd place. The weather was too bad, and the snow too soft in areas to make it safe, so the finals were postponed until Sunday morning.
On Sunday morning the conditions were still difficult but the snow was harder and the course had been worked on . After qualifying in 2nd, I ended up with good gate selections, and progressed into the big final. I was pleased to find myself in such a good position after what has been a difficult year. It was myself, Katya (AUS), Yulia (RUS) and Violetta (RUS). I had a decent start but have to say I was justvery slow along the top flat, and found myself right on the back of Violetta in 4th place. As we progressed down the course, Violetta moved out to take more direction into the hip jump and I went more straight, causing us both to scream and land on top of each other over the hip, thank fully we both stayed up, and it was close coming into the final turns, and I finished in 4th position. I was pretty happy with the result as much as I would have liked to have held my 2nd place, but it was a good quality final and good racing all round!
In the second event, I qualified in 3rd place behind Katya(AUS) and Yulia(RUS) which I was again pretty pleased with. I progressed through each of the final heats, found myself achieve a nice overtake across the bridge in the semi final rouns, and yet again found myself comfortably in the big final. It was the same 4 of us battling for the podium once again. I had a pretty good start and once again just found myself slow across those top rollers, there wasn't any overtaking and I managed to enter the last couple of turns and crash out. After all the hiking up to the start gate which was about 200m above the chairlift fighting a head on wind, and 2 events worth of heats plus training runs all in one day, all our legs were pretty spent! All in all it was a great weekend of racing and I was stoked to find myself comfortably in the big final for both events. Be in touch soon!
I thought it was about time to write and give an update of where I am and what I am up to. As you will see I spent some time giving my website a facelift! I had quite a lot of new photos and content after my Olympic debut. I returned to Melbourne end of March, straight back into week 4 of University. I played catch up at uni and had a few much needed weeks break from training, trying to let my injuries heal up. I tried to get some wakeboarding in, but sadly that injury to my shin when I hit the fence persisted in giving me grief. Had a great time away at Bonnie Doon none the less.
I managed to pick up a job as a mascot. I work usually 3 or 4 times a week as Gilbert the Gecko (see photo below) which has proved to be really good fun. I am also assisting to run the snowsports dryland program at St Catherine's School in Melbourne. I am still working as a PA as well when needed. I have started back physical training and am coming into my last week for this semester at University. I will be completing my last subject next semester and should have my degree in Multimedia (Business Marketing) come November 2010. My 3 jobs are flexible and with just one subject at University next semester it should allow me quite a lot of time for training leading up to the next northern season. I am unsure of my plans this southern season, I will try to get on snow if I can, and have been asked to do a photoshoot in New Zealand early September for Apollo Campervans which is awesome. My injuries are getting better and physical gains are coming back slowly.
I rocked up to the event in Meiringen hobbling with bandages in my boots, full of anti inflammatories. They moved the course at Meiringen which I was happy about. The course looked good very busy but I knew in the pain I was in, this was going to be difficult for me. I took 4 pain killers and started training. The course was so busy that first run I got a little lost, and missed one section, I could feel the pan in my lower legs. 2nd run was an improvement and 3rd was going even better until I headed into the fastest section fo the course where there was a jump into a long compression with an up jump. As I was heading into the up jump full speed, approaching the take off, suddenly the gate keeper raised a yellow flag, I couldn't do anything! I started to panic, straightened my leg as a natural reaction, knowing dam well there was another competitor lying on the other side off the jump and I had no idea where, this caused me to launch off the jump, mid air I saw Sanna Luedi (SUI) lying in the fence, I knew I wasn't going to hit her, but I was heading straight for the fence lower down, I landed with a fence fast approaching and only had one thought in my head "Broken legs for sure" then a split second later BANG full speed flat ski straight into a fence. Isi the Spanish coach and one of the Canadian coaches came running to help. I was in pain but was ok considering. Now my tib/fib joint was really hurting me, my shins…well I had just gone straight over the top of them into a fence, so they were killing me and somehow I managed to tear/pull my groin quite badly, unsable to lift my leg. How any normal person would say...ok stop now. But no, I got to the top, in a decent amount of pain, to find out that training had been extended by 5 minutes because of my crash..and of course the only person who didn't get another run because of it..WAS ME!! Didn't make a lot of sense. I took 4 more pain killers, (taking the total to 8) and decided I wanted to do my qualification run so as not to finish the season with a full speed crash into the fence to dwell on over summer. Struggling to move at the top, with tears streaming down my face and the people closest to me on the circuit saying..."Sar maybe you should just stop now", I started my qualification run, produced a terrible time, and knew that my next stop was home. Ken was shocked I managed to finish granted my physical condition, I left Meiringen limping, knowing I was already finished mentally and emotionally but now I was finished physically as well. Just to top itoff, I broke my race skis too. Brilliant! A huge thank you to Ken, your help was very much appreciated. I spent the next 24 hours hobbling around, stiff with whip lash trying to book myself back to Australia as soon as possible.
A few minor things I need to achieve in the next 48 hours or so:
1. Getting to France to pick up my car after the back suspension broke off on the highway and we left it near a garage on the side of the road a month and a half earlier.
2. Driving the Vectra 12 hours back to the UK knowing dam well it probably won't make it further than Dijon
3. Changing my flight from Heathrow to Melbourne asap
4. Cancelling my flight to Spain (where the last world cup was)
5. Making it in time to catch my ferry to the UK after missing 2 buses and 2 trains to go and get my car, and what should have taken 4.5 hours taking 12.
6. Leaving the Vectra in Fareham with family and getting to Heathrow with all my luggage then venturing into London to pick up yet another bag of kit I had left there.
7. A short 32 hour journey home London to Melbourne via Honk Kong and Auckland.
Catch up on 3 weeks of university I have missed
A busy time, but I am looking forward to getting home, and spending the next month resting and catching up on University. "On the road again...like a band of gypsies we go down the highway..."
After spending much of my time at the Olympics filled with disappointment, suddenly it was the closing ceremony and Team GB was off on a BA flight back to London. The next event was in Sweden in Branas, and whilst I felt like I wasn't really there mentally or emotionally, I made my self press on as usual. I flew to Stockholm Arlanda and got a lift with Tuomas from Finland to Branas (About 5 hours) rocking out to his favourite death metal tracks along the way...I was stoked when he pulled out his Roxette cd for a change... I can assure you!! The course in Branas last year was amazing, fast paced, lots of features, big jumps down the last flat, and big double/triple along the last run into the last jump. I had always planned to atleast finish the season with Branas as the course was great. This year it was flat, no features, tiny rollers you could absorb and a total gliding race. In training I managed to get off balance in the air off the last jump, landing on my inside edge and I think hitting my femur straight onto the top of my tib/fib joint. Nothing painkillers couldn't get rid of. So other than starfishing off the first jump, I just wasn't fast which just added to my mental/emotional burden. Chio had an equally disappointing time there in Branas and we both decided maybe the Europa Cups in Spain were looking more appealing than the following world cups in Swizterland. Unfortunately due to bad weather the races in Spain looked like they weren't going to go ahead, so it was a 5 hour death metal filled ride back to Stockholm with Tuomas (greatly appreciated) and onwards to Geneva. I did find it a little strange at Arlanda Stockholm airport (The supporting airport of the Swedish Olympic Team) that when I tried to check in my 20kg ski bag with two pairs of race skis in it, that they refused and said we can not have two pairs off skis in one bag, it is against the airport rules. Now I gotta be honest, I am not convinced that Anja Paerson travelled to the Olympic Games with 20 ski bags for her 20 pairs of skis. But even better, they handed me a plastic bag to put the other pair in. (Not convinced Anja Paerson travelled with her race skis in plastic bags either!!!!) With tears dwelling in my eyes, I asked to speak to a manager and tried to explain to them that I simply could not travel with my world cup race stock competition skis in a plastic bag. After 45 minutes of arguing, a long queue accumulating behind me, and my boarding time approaching, I gave in and yes my world cup skis travelled to Geneva in a Scandinavian airlines plastic bag. What was better was upon arrival in Geneva, bumping into Jeff Sadis the tech for a few girls on the circuit, who had lost all his luggage and was fuming, however, managed to crack a big smile and have a good laugh as I cruised up to him with my skis in a SAS plastic bag over my shoulder. It was then that Jeff came out with one of the finest comments I have ever heard, and it was so accurate that it almost made me cry "It shits me how much of this sport is not to do with what you actually do on the race course" and that is it right there, the story of my skiing career.