Skier’s road to Sochi turns into road to surgery |

Skier’s road to Sochi turns into road to surgery

Alice McKennis
U.S. Ski Team
Alice McKennnis, a former racer with the Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club, will undergo surgery soon to remove a metal plate and 11 screws from her repaired leg.
Courtesy photo |

My “road to Sochi” has turned into a “road to surgery”.

I pushed myself in the gym last summer, pushed to get back on snow sooner, pushed to get into racing right away,

But I can no longer push my body and my leg. I have reached a point where I cannot continue improving and making the large strides I need to in order to reach Sochi and my goals this season.

The plate and 11 screws in my leg have caused me enough pain, weakness, and stress that I have decided to call it for the rest of the season and get the hardware taken out of my leg in two weeks.

I thought I could make this comeback a reality and be a medal contender at Sochi, but as the past few weeks went by I realized this was not the case. No matter how much I believed in myself and how much hope I had, my leg did not have the same amount of belief and determination as the rest of my body and mind.

Reaching this decision has been one of the hardest choices I have had to make in my life.

As an athlete, the Olympics can seem like everything and be the only goal you are striving for, and you will do whatever it takes to make those dreams a reality.

I did everything possible to make my dreams a reality, and I have no regrets or doubts in the work I put in over the past 10 months.

If I had a few more months, maybe I could have made these dreams come true, but I don’t have a few more months. What I have now is the rest of my career, and that is what I am focusing on.

Now that I have accepted my decision and I am ready to move forward, I feel like a huge weight has been lifted off of me.

I no longer have to ignore when I feel pain and weakness in my leg. I can acknowledge it and know that it is okay to admit that my body isn’t in a place to send myself 75 mph down an icy, steep and dangerous track in hopes of making the Olympics and winning a medal.

I am ready for the future, and what my future has in store for me is unknown. But I have confidence that if I am healthy and I am able to train like the rest of my teammates

Then, I can make larger strides and gains and come back next season prepared and ready to race World Cup and ready for the 2015 World Championships in Beaver Creek.

I will restart my comeback once again in a few short weeks after surgery.

I will rehab, re-strengthen and aim for returning to snow in May.

After the on-snow May camp, I will be able to train harder than I have in three years because I will be healed and won’t be fighting another injury. I am looking forward to this coming summer of intense physical training. I will feel like a regular athlete instead of put-together stick figure.

From now until surgery I am trying to ski as much powder that is humanly possibly. Thankfully, it feels like a “real” Colorado winter again and the past few days of face shots are serving as sort of consolation prize for missing Sochi.

Powder days are not the Olympics, but in my situation and with what my body can do, it is close enough.

A big thanks to all my supporters and sponsors for sticking by me in this bumpy part of my career: Coldwell Banker-Mason Morse, Atomic, Shred Optics, Leki and Aspen Snowmass, knowing that they all believe in me and know I can make a true comeback next season only motivates me more to get back out there when the time is right.

Thanks to all my friends, family and fans as well. The encouragement I have had from everyone has been outstanding, and I could not appreciate it more.

Enjoy the snow everyone.

Onwards to 2015.

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