Ski Jumping

Justin Piercy - Thursday Nov. 21, 2013 13:21 ET

The highs and lows of Mackenzie Boyd-Clowes

Ski jumper sets Canadian record, crashes in a single week

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Mackenzie Boyd-Clowes, shown above in competition in 2012, and below during a crash in Germany this past February. (Getty Images/CBCSports.ca)

Mackenzie Boyd-Clowes had a very tumultuous February, setting a new Canadian record and enduring a horrific crash in the span of a week.

The lone member of the Canadian men’s ski jumping team is hoping that this coming February, when he’ll be competing at the Sochi Olympics, will have more peaks than valleys.

On Feb. 3, Boyd-Clowes, 22, became the first Canadian man to jump more than 200 metres when he sailed 205 metres on the World Cup circuit in the Czech Republic:

One week later, the Toronto-born Boyd-Clowes suffered a broken collarbone and numerous facial cuts after this scary fall in Willingen, Germany:

The fall came at an unofficial event, put on after the official World Cup event at Mühlenkopfschanze was cancelled due to high winds. Boyd-Clowes and several other jumpers decided to entertain the crowd that stuck around the hill, hoping to see the world’s best perform.

That bit of fan-friendly showmanship sidelined Boyd-Clowes from competition, but he says he did learn an important lesson.

“I guess just realizing why I do what I do,” he said. “I really had to take some time and figure out why I was still ski jumping and I realized that I still want to be a ski jumper and work hard and get to the top levels.

“I guess sometimes it takes some getting away from a little bit to realize that.”

Nerves in Vancouver subside for Sochi

After spending more than half of your life doing something, maybe some time away isn’t so bad.

Boyd-Clowes started in the sport when he was 10; just eight years later, he represented Canada at the Vancouver Olympics.

He says the pressure of performing at the highest level and in front of a home crowd was an intense feeling for an 18-year-old.

“It was too much,” Boyd-Clowes said. “I wasn’t expecting to achieve any results, I was just expecting to do as well as I could. I might’ve put too much pressure on myself. I was also really young at the time. I think it was very valuable, definitely, especially going into [2014]. I got that out of the way.

“I’m pretty confident that I’ll be able to bring my best to Sochi.”

The last leg on his journey to the Sochi Games begins this weekend in Klingenthal, Germany, as the men's World Cup season kicks off at the Vogtland Arena.

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