Going For Gold 

Injuries, podiums, and the drive to succeed

Have you ever been in a situation where you find yourself asking why? That is the exact question that Emily Brydon, my teammate, is asking herself right now. As many of you may already know, Emily has just undergone knee surgery in Vancouver on her left knee. Two weeks ago while training in Copper Mountain, Colorado she crashed and tore the ACL in her left knee. The worst part of it is that she was just returning after rehabbing torn ligaments in her other knee from a crash last season, and was preparing herself for the new year.

Why? Who knows why, and as an athlete you can only torture yourself with that question for a brief moment. Emily is now well on her way to recovery after successful surgery and is looking forward to attaining her goals ? World Cup podiums and the Olympics.

As her teammate, this injury was a huge shock; it has been a big shock to the whole women?s team. It isn?t fun to hear about one of your teammates getting injured, especially when they haven?t even been able to return to racing after a previous injury.

This past weekend I was in Calgary and was able to spend some time with Emily. She is doing very well. It was an unfortunate accident but it happens to the best of us ? if you look at it in a positive way, an injury can only make you stronger.

I am currently on my way to Europe with Anna Prchal, where we will be racing in some Europa Cup slaloms in Finland and Sweden during the time of the Lake Louise World Cup races.

It will be my first time to Scandinavia and I am really looking forward to it ? well maybe not the dark days and cold weather, but it can?t be much worse than a cold day of training in Nakiska!

For most of this winter I will be focussing on the giant slalom and slalom races. The speed events, downhill and super G, will be my second focus. I have always been ? and will continue to be ? a four event skier, but will not be competing in as many speed races on the World Cup circuit this season.

The giant slalom has always been the most exciting event for me. Like the slalom, you have to put together two strong runs to finish the race, and in the second run almost anything can happen.

In World Cup competition, only the top 30 racers qualify for a second run and the pole positions are then reversed for the second run start ? the best of the 30 starts last, and the worst of the 30 starts first.

I really learned how important the second run can be in Sestrieres, Italy, last year, where I finished eighth overall in the giant slalom. Did I mention that I was in 29 th position after the first run?

This is why we get up for ever single race. Any racer in the top 30 can win on any given day, on any given run.

Even if I haven?t qualified for the second run in a race, I will usually stay to watch right to the end because you never know what will happen.

The thrill of a second run was evident at our last World Cup race at Copper Mountain after both Allison Forsyth and Genevieve Simard had qualified for the second run. Alison moved from fourth to second, giving the Canadian team its first podium finish of the season. Genevieve moved from 23 rd to 15 th .

Unfortunately, I did not qualify for the second run at Copper ? I think I?m trying too hard. But, like everyone else, I will continue to keep my focus on making that second run, because you never know what?s going to happen.

Britt Janyk?s column appears every second week in Pique Newsmagazine through the ski season.

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