Joy and pain
Tough training sessions, but a baby on the way
Surgery to my left knee in July has compromised my training for the upcoming Olympic season considerably.
Despite feelings of anger, frustration and disappointment, I have to cope with my reality, something that is easier to do now at 32 than when I was 22 years old. After three or four days I found the motivation to face this new challenge. When I tore my anterior cruciate ligament in 2003, it took me three or four weeks.
It's not the end of the world, even if it may affect my career. I have a wife, Karen, two daughters in good health, and soon I’ll have another child. I’m going to become a daddy for the third time at the end of March 2014!
Everything has been perfectly planned. The stork should arrive around March 25, one week after I finish my season. We just have to hope that the baby doesn’t come early. We haven’t found out if it’s a boy or a girl. Karen and I like the surprise. But I have to admit that I’d love to have a boy to balance things out. Otherwise, I’m going to be a minority with four women in the house!
My wife’s pregnancy hasn't affected anything in terms of the Sochi Games. Karen had not planned to come to Sochi anyway. Russia is not a simple place to go to, and it’s also very expensive. Even my mother is no longer sure if she’ll come. My dad, he has already gone on record by declaring that he’ll watch the games from Mont-Tremblant. At least I can count on the presence of my brother Stefan, who is a coach with Alpine Canada.
Making me suffer
After two months of swimming and working on my upper body, since my knee could not tolerate any shocks, I needed to go back to that intensity that athletes crave constantly.
My surgeon Robert Litchfield gave me the go-ahead to start testing the knee again in off-snow workouts in late September. He placed no limits on what I can do as long as I don’t feel any pain. If I do, I have to take a step back.
I went all out the first week back. The young moguls stars Mikael Kingsbury and Alexandre Bilodeau made me suffer on the bike. I constantly had the feeling of playing catch up, since I feel I’m only performing at about 80 per cent. But I’m pretty sure that by Nov. 1 , when I plan to go back on the snow in Colorado, I will be back to 100 per cent.
My biggest fear is that my injury will return once I’m on the snow, even though I don’t feel it when I train at the gym, as happened in July. There is no other movement in any other sport or in my normal everyday life that reproduces the problem that my knee has when I’m skiing. It’s when I transfer my weight from right to left in a curve that I feel a pang – sometimes unbearable – in my left knee.
To try and avoid this, we’ve decided to add some skating sessions to my training. In terms of the pressure and angle, skating is somewhat similar to skiing. The silver lining with the injury is that the forced rest allowed me to attend the wedding of a dear friend in Barcelona. My wife and I had a lovely vacation in Spain, which ordinarily would conflict with the alpine team's snow camp in Chile.
The week after the wedding a lot of travel, but until I get to Colorado at the beginning of November, there are no distractions, besides the intensive training. Head down, I forge ahead and … suffer.