Recovering from yet another Concussion had undoubtedly taken its toll, physically, mentally, and particularly on our progress on skis and training.
Constantly playing catch up over the summer had meant we’d accepted that any medal prospects were very slim. And that was evident at our first races in November, where we were further from the podium than we’d thought. The races in December solidified this thought, where we continued to underperform. We knew then that we would be going to Beijing to compete and enjoy ourselves rather than be strong contenders for medals. This lack of pressure, however, was incredible and enabled us to fully concentrate on the things that mattered, allowing us the headspace to focus and not worry so much!
After Christmas, we competed at The World Championships in Lillehammer, Norway. Something within us must have changed or clicked into place at these races; the Downhill/Super-G hill was tough, certifiably the most challenging hill we’d ever skied. It was very steep, bumpy, and icy; I made the decision not to race the Downhill because I didn’t feel safe enough, even though I’d already raced on that hill two times, it could have been a medal, for sure, but in this sport, any doubt can cause significant crashes. I felt very weak making this decision.
However, the SuperG race the following day proved that I’d made the right decision, and I showed myself that I could be strong. Somehow, we managed to win a bronze medal. I was in shock after this run. I never thought I could perform at that level again. Surprisingly, I skied my socks off during the two runs of the Super Combined race, and we became World Champions again; this was unbelievable! Although this was an incredible achievement, it didn’t change our opinions or mindsets going into Beijing, as we knew we had a lot of work to do still! We then moved from Norway to Sweden to compete in the World Cup Finals, where we won Gold in the SuperG; this then meant we had secured enough points to win the Overall World Cup SuperG Globe.
We had a very short holding camp in Austria before heading to Beijing. On day one on skis in Beijing, I had a little, tiny fall that hurt my knee (although I didn’t tell anyone about it for fear of being pulled from the races).
The Downhill was terrific; it was a great course and very enjoyable! Every day during the Downhill Training runs, we built up our confidence but kept coming 4th. I knew we had it in us, and I knew that Bronze could be ours. The SuperG and Super Combined races were devastating, but we were proud of how we skied. The tech disciplines were so much fun! As these were our weakest events, we knew we just needed to enjoy them and have fun – that we did! Sadly, Brett announced his retirement at the end of the Paralympics. I’ve had a lot of time to get my head around this now, but I will sorely miss Brett. A new guide has big (ski)boots to fill!
I have had lots of scans on my knee and was in a full leg, fixed splint and crutches for a few weeks. I had damaged my poor Lateral collateral ligament in my knee initially, and because I kept skiing through the pain, it then caused damage to my Fibular. This is taking some time to recover from, but rehab is going very well, and I’m slowly building up to returning to full gym training.
Karate, however, has other ideas! Now that the ski season is over, karate training has ramped up (catching up on all the missed training due to skiing). I have now had my first round of selections for The Commonwealth Games, which went very well! The next round is next month.