Ankle reconstruction and my new screw!

Date: 4th March 2011

Last Friday I had surgery on my ankle. I knew that I had ruptured a number of ligaments in my ankle, but the real damage was found when they got inside. I had ruptured my sydesmosis...this meant that my tibia and filbular were no longer connected to each other at the ankle. I had a tear in another ligament as well and they decided an ankle reconstruction was appropriate. He put a large 45mm screw through my fibular and tibia for stabilisation. In addition to this they put a tightrope acnhor through and reattached my ligaments.

The screw will be removed in a few months time, and the tightrope will remain to ensure it doesn't happen again and to ensure it fully heals. I am really struggling to keep myself entertained, but I hope to be off my crutches in 5 weeks and can't wait to get walking and functioning again. I see the suregon again on April 5th. In the mean time I am hoping to get started on the Smart Connection Diploma of Management and put all this spare time to good use.

You will get an idea of the crash from the photo below, but If you want to see the video of my crash in Alpe D'Huez that led to all of this, you can see it online at youtube under Sarah Sauvey ski cross crash Alpe D'Huez 2011. Be in touch soon!

Leader Newspaper Sports Award

Date: 23rd February 2011

Last night we had the Eastern Division Leader Newspaper awards for 2010 held at Etihad Stadium. I was awarded the Progress Leaser Senior Sports Star of the year for 2010. I received a medal and was interviewed on stage by Steve Quatermaine (AKA. Sports Tonight man as seen below). I also received a voucher for Rebel Sport. I was very appreciative that my hard work has been recognised by the local community. I was on the front page of the Leader Newspaper this week with the winners of the Junior division and the Encouragement award. I am going in for surgery on Friday 25th Feb and will let you know the full damage and operation report after.

Surgery 25th February

Date: 22nd February 2011

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.

21st at World Champs and beyond!

Date: 12th February 2011

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 :)

Unfortunately I made a mistake in my quali, and had a slow time. But they took all ladies for finals as the field was much smaller than normal, and I got a chance to race SX! I had a tough heat with Fanny Smith and Jenny Owens, and on final day, once again the leg really only held up for one training run. Then in the heat, I had a pretty good start, held a good line and managed to make a pass on Jenny, stoked with the result I then followed behind Fanny rather than taking a strategic line and was passed once again by Jenny further down the course. It was nice to make a pass and feel the first spark I have felt from the sport in the last 12 months! So I finished up at the World Championships in 21st place. Not a bad result for ultimately trying to ski on one leg.

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!

Alpe D'Huez and 17 new stitches in my face!

Date: 30th January 2011

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!

Training in the sun in Sierra Nevada, Spain

Date: 28th December 2010

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!

First news for the new season!

21st December 2010

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!

University Degree Complete and Europe Bound

28th November 2010

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!

Many Thanks Melbourne Myo!

Date: October 13th 2010

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:

Queensland with an Apollo Campervan

Date: 9th October 2010

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 were back on the road and decided to head to Rainbow Beach! Unfortunately we were faced with rain, we managed to get one of the last spaces at the campervan park, plugged in, filled up with water and had a great nights sleep. In the morning we set up our table and chairs and enjoyed a big cooked breakfast, bacon, hash browns, baked beans and scrambled eggs. it was at this stage we were attacked by sand flies which I am still scratching 8 days later! Anti-itch plus has become my new best friend!

We headed down to rainbow beach and enjoyed a few hours of sun and we walked out to Carlo Sand Blow which was unbelievable! You walk through a woodland forest and pop out in the middle of this 15-hectare sand dune which faces down onto the beach below. However, in set the rain and we had a look at the weather forecast, the rain was set to stay, so we decided to head north and escape and we were off to 1770! After a long drive we arrived late and slept parked opposite where we were set to take the ferry early the next morning.

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 then headed south for a day at Dreamworld and White Water World on the Gold Coast. We had an enjoyable day, but unfortunately didn’t have ideal weather, faced with some rain. We cooked up our lunch in the car park and headed back into the park for the afternoon. We travelled up to have dinner in Brisbane and slept under neath the Storey Bridge, it was quite spectacular.

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 :)

Smart Connection - Diploma of Management Scholarship

Date: 28th September 2010

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!

Apollo Winter Adventure Shoot

Date: September 14th 2010

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!

Guest Speaker - Melbourne Girls Grammar Celebration of Sport Dinner

Date: 11th September

On Thursday 9th September, I was asked to be a guest speaker at the Melbourne Girls Grammar Celebration of Sport dinner. I was fortunate to be joined by Michelle Payne, an elite Australian Jockey, and Caitlin Thwaites netballer with the Vixens. Also in attendance was Rob Warnock, ruckman from the Carlton Blues AFL team.

It was a great night and it was really nice being welcomed back by the school. Being an old girl, a lot of the girls were really excited to hear from an Old Grammarian who had made it to the Olympics and were keen to come and have a chat. They were excited to hear about what GSV sports I played during VCE and how my overall VCE experience was, I think they were quite shocked to hear me say it was the best year of my life and I have never laughed that hard!

We sat as a panel of three infront of the audience and Caroline Wilson (sports/media journalists and old girl) interviewing us, asking questions and encouraging audience questions and partcicipation. Each of the girls had an amazing and inspriational story.

The focus of the evening was on the following values which we were asked to encorporate:
Integrity- living by your values, being honest and sincere. To do the right thing and tell the truth. To act with intergtiry requires words to match up with actions. Integrity gives us self respect.
Courage- bravery in the face of fear . You don't give up, you try new things and you admit mistakes. You do the right thing even when it is hard or scary.
Compassion - understanding and caring when soemone is hurt or troubled even if you don't know them- its about wanting to help and forgivieng mistakes.;and
Self discipline- means self control, you act instead of react, you get things done in an ordered and efficient way. It is about you taking charge of yourself.

It was a great occasion enjoyed by all and I felt quite honoured to be there as a guest speaker. Please find a couple of photos from the night below.
Be in touch soon!

Mt Hotham ANC Ski Cross Events

Date: 23rd August 2010

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!

Update from off season

Date: 18th May 2010

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 got my Olympic bib and all the 17 nation pins I spent so much time collecting framed and it looks great! I also got my Vancouver 2010 Flag signed by 35 Inaugural Ladies SX Olympic athletes framed and it also looks unreal! Photos attached. I will be in touch soon!

Ending the season with a bang...literally

Date: 15th March 2010

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 a band of gypsies we go down the highway..."

Grindelwald World Cup, Switzerland

11th March 2010

Chio arrived shortly after me into Geneva airport and we got a lift to the Formula 1 hotel with the French team guys for the night..slightly embarrassed that my skis were in a long plastic bag. The next morning we were greeted by Isi and Martin (Spanish coach and tech) who had just done a 20hour drive from Granada and we threw our stuff in the back of the van and jumped right in on top of it...literally! We arrived in Grindelwald Switzerland and shortly after we arrived I was greeted by Ken Chance-Larsen. Ken is the physio who had been sent out from the UK by TASS (but he is Norwegian!). I had told poor Ken that I didn’t have any injuries, but by this stage, my tib/fib joint was killing me from being smashed in Branas and my shins on my right leg were giving me serious grief. I took painkillers and persisted with the training, Ken later bandaging my shin inside my boot as it was swelling right along the inside of the bone. Suspected stress fractures, I was unable to pressure my skis properly, and I knew that the end of my season was drawing near. Sadly the vital turn in the course at Grindelwald is a high speed compression type turn on your right foot with bumps. Not surprisingly this is the area of the course I lost all my speed on in qualification and due to only 31 girls finishing, I made the finals in 30th position...eeeek! This was getting worse and worse. The first day of finals the fog came in and you literally couldn't see anything, they decided after running 7 of the 8 girls heats they would postpone it till the next day and re start the whole race. Fortunately the weather was fantastic on the next day and we pulled a great race off. I knew nothing was going to help my shins now, I just gave the start my all, had a decent one, and then of course got overtaken in the vital turn which I tried to pressure my ski but just got pushed down and overtaken. I followed on down and nearly had a large crash off the last jump, entering the jump still on my edge, I came off, headed backwards in the air, and I was sure I was gone, but somehow landed on both edges (putting further stress on my already sore tib/fib joint near my knee) and somehow managed to hold it crossing the finish line, shaking my hand as if to say 'phew that was bloody close!' The swelling down my shin had now moved even further down extending about 20cm down my shin now. Feeling like a bit of an invillid it was off to Meiringen to give it a shot! See below photo sequence of my close call!

Onward to the next World Cup with my race skis in a plastic bag

Date: 8th March 2010

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.