Just reading my last update on the 23rd November, “Team Commonwealth is complete”, I was full of hope, excitement and anxiety to get the season started.
A month later I sit at home, on a couch almost indented with the outline of my body and the TV remote permanently placed within reach; my Compex muscle stimulater plugged into my right quad and my Game Ready icer whirling cold compression from my knee down. How quickly things change! In fact, in a matter of just 5 seconds!
It sounds bizarre but my biggest positive of my crash is that I can’t remember it. I know that sounds weird but with big crashes bones will always heal, the physical pain regardless of how piercingly painful will fade, but the horrific memories of (what others perceived wrongly to be a career ending) crash will always be there - every time I push the limit, every time I try to create speed and of course every time I approach a big jump. So the fact that my mind is so strong and has compartmentalized my crash and thrown away the key and thus protecting me, is a great thing! I remember when I was sliding down the ice on my side that my arms encased my head as I tried to stop without bracing my body with tension. Before that my last memory is of the start gate, 30 seconds before I fell (to be more precise all I remember is the underwear the italian girl in front if me was wearing as she powered out the start!!)
And hopefully that is how things will stay....
I do have a copy of my crash - an american sports show sent it to me after I had done a live interview. I forwarded the crash to all the medical people helping me with my comeback (just in case it would be insightful to see how i sustained such horrific injuries) and also to my family (just in case at one time in the not so near future a sports psychologist advises me to watch it.) I then deleted it forever from my inbox!
Crashes happen - Women's’ ski racing, thanks to incredibly talented skiers, like Lindsey Vonn, have upped the level - you have to push your limits in order to achieve success and now because it is so competitive and the girls are skiing so fast you sometimes push too far. Maybe I was trying to cut the line too much, maybe i was just in the wrong position on the lip of the jump - for whatever reason, I crashed. I take full responsibility. There was no reason why on the 2nd December I had a really bad day. I didn’t have a bad nights sleep or argue with anyone. I had good focus and felt good physically. Sometimes things happen. As simple as that....
So often we try to complicate and overanalyze things. There is no point for me or anyone to live in the past.
I have a great plaque hanging above my bedroom door which reads...‘Today is a gift, that is why we call it the present.’ When my mother passed away it became a saying I endeavored to live by. Yes horrible, terrible, life changing things happen but things go on. The last month has been tough - but every day the pain has got less and my motivation to return to the sport I love has grown. Amazing things have happened along the way which wouldn’t have been possible it i hadn’t smashed up my leg - I was here when my brother and his beautiful wife welcomed there new baby boy into the world, I got to bond with my niece and lovely sister in law (as my other brother has just moved back to London after over 10 years of living in New York), I got to have Christmas on the 25th December (normally because of the busy World Cup schedule I have to travel on the evening of the 24th), I got a ridiculous amount of beautiful wintery bouquets from friends, family and well-wishers, I realized my boyfriend is also an amazing, caring person as he nursed me day and night (even singing to me when I woke in agony despite the fact that his vocal talents are rather limited!)
I know skiing is my love and passion but because of the intensity needed to succeed it has also been my full time job for the last 10 years. So with this extended break I have to search in these difficult times for ways of earning money. My sister in law, Heather has adopted the role of my everything - my driver, my friend, my health chef but most importantly my manager. I felt very guilty for a while but then I realized she loves her little projects!!
So in the last month I have been splattered over the press, had my first ever spread in Hello magazine, done an (at home!) guest appearance on Sky One’s ‘A League of their Own’, had to decline a lovely invite to BBC Sports Personality, cried on national TV (am rather embarrassed about that but it was a tough day when I was on a lot of painkillers and also had the terrible news that all our government funding had been cut!) But you know what they say - no press is bad press - and to be honest - it I hadn’t been teary then I doubt I would have got on the National News at all!! Also I don’t want to hide away - being a shrinking violet has never been my thing - I want to stay involved in my sport so that when I comeback I know who I have to beat, so I was ecstatic when Eurosport offered me the job as guest commentator for the Women's’ World Cup this winter. I saw first hand the sadistic side of the British Public when I tweeted nasty photos of my leg and in doing so gained over 2000 followers!
A Big THANKS goes out to everyone from the paramedics who not only helicoptered me off the hill but made the hour journey every day to the hospital to check how I was doing. The great people at Banff Mineral hospital and lovely nurses who put up with my terrible singing sessions with my team mates and hourly visitors! To my amazing family and boyfriend who have rallied around me day and night. To the incredibly caring UK ski community who have sent me so many messages of hope and encouragement. To all the help from my sponsors looking forward to seeing me back - stronger and better than ever.
The biggest thanks has to go to a company called DJO Global who supplied me with a Compex and an Aircast but most importantly who have given me access to the lovely, but very pushy (in a good “let’s do rehab’ way!) Cliff Eaton - the physio who has vouched to bring me back to better than my best!!