Chemmy Alcott is back!
Great Britain’s racer Chemmy Alcott suffered a terrible crash in a training run at Lake Louise in December 2010; she was airlifted from the slope with broken bones in her right leg piercing her skin.
Two years later, she is ready to face the Lake Louise course again, and she took a bit of time from her rehab and training to chat with Fisalpine.com
Fisalpine.com – It has been two years off the race slopes for you, how exciting is it to be on the brink of your World Cup comeback or are you nervous?
Chemmy – Having enforced time away from doing what you love to do is very hard, but it made me realize that my passion to ski fast is still alive and kicking. I have been enjoying tough training and although my leg is still painful sometimes, it is strong and solid. I feel like the decision I have made to come back now was the best one for me, both physically and mentally. Also, I love Lake Louise. Of course I will be nervous, and I know that harnessing those nerves into something positive will be difficult but I love the challenge!
Fisalpine.com – The journey back has been long and challenging – what is it that kept you at it for all those months?
Chemmy – The key for me was to keep distracted – I had a great rehab team at The Third Space in London, who got me through all the dark times, along with my fabulous friends and family. Then, I was invited to the skating show and that helped me doing some more ski specific training. It also was an unfortunate coincidence that my boyfriend, GB skier Dougie Crawford was injured during that time so we spent a lot of time hanging out and helping each other – we definitely made the best of out of a bad situation.
Fisalpine.com – You've long said that your long-term goal is to compete at the Sochi 2014 Games. What will make you happy this season?
Chemmy – It is very hard to set goals right now because my training is really hit and miss. Sometimes I am fast and very competitive, other days I struggle. I am hoping to build up consistency and just love doing what I have fought so hard to do. The aim is to be at my best for February, both in 2013 and 2014.
Fisalpine.com – During the past two years, you have also had time to devote to other activities – what has been the main new thing you have learned and have you discovered anything new about yourself?
Chemmy – I think the most surprising thing was that the worst thing that ever happened to me could be used as an opportunity to do some great and fulfilling things. I have always been annoyingly positive, so as soon as I got over the pain and sadness of not being able to ski I devoted myself to other projects. I loved keeping up with the Women's World Cup Tour and how all my friends where skiing by commentating for Eurosport – I mean I love skiing and I love to talk so it was a great combination! I also started speaking at various events, from schools to corporate events to Army award ceremonies. I would tell my story and help motivate and inspire others. I think the main thing I learnt was that yes, Chemmy is a skier but she is also a person too and if, heaven forbid, I could never ski again, I would be okay.
Fisalpine.com – One of the new experiences you had was participation in the Dancing on Ice – how was that?
Chemmy – Dancing on Ice was an amazing, surreal experience which gave me a 15 minute snippet into the world of entertainment and being a 'celebrity.' Being selected by Torvill and Dean, Team GB Olympic Gold medalists to take part in their show was amazing since I have always idolized them and their achievements. I did the show for 3 reasons – to help my leg improve, to improve my profile and that of skiing in the UK and to hopefully generate enough interest to get a head sponsor. In that way it ticked every box - my leg was strong, my social profile increased and I signed with the fabulous Monarch Airlines. But ice-skating is a tough, gnarly sport, which I have a huge newfound respect for –especially when you are doing live ice skating shows in front of 10 million viewers! My partner Sean Rice from Canada was amazing and I definitely owe our 5th place to him!
Fisalpine.com – In the UK, you are a much-liked TV personality; could you imagine yourself pursuing TV as a career after retiring from ski racing?
Chemmy – When I retire I would really like to be an adventurer/explorer. There are only a few women who do it and I believe that my experiences from skiing and in life I am pretty tough and can show people that women are capable of doing what men can do! I filmed a pilot last year and the TV stations responded well so watch this space! Besides, being an adventurer is in my blood – my great uncle British aviator John Alcock made the first non-stop transatlantic flight!
Fisalpine.com – Ski racing in your home country is not a major sport and you have struggled with financing for example. What role do you see yourself playing for skiing?
Chemmy – I would love to be successful enough to help the next generation – if I ski fast then people will believe we can be from Britain and be the best, that will help, I hope! I mean a few years ago I won a run in World Cup (the 2nd run in Soelden) so it is possible with consistency and a lot of hard work. But that still doesn't mean it is easy for me – I have some great sponsors (Monarch, Mizuno, Skiset, Landrover, Atomic, POC, Colmar and others) but still, it doesn't cover my season costs to ski alongside the Canadian Ski Team. I have set up a personal donation page, which is helping – it is about fans donating small amounts and getting 'gifts' in return at www.chemmyalcott.com/donation/ and I thank everyone who has contributed so far!
Fisalpine.com – Making history, Dave Ryding sported the British colors in the men's 2nd run at Levi – what can we expect from you at Lake Louise?
Chemmy – I am so proud of Dave, he works so hard and is such a natural talent. I grew up skiing with him on plastic snow, so it is awesome seeing him ripping on the tough men's World Cup slalom Tour. For me, yes I would love success but with what I have been through I have learnt not to expect it – all I can control is what I do and I promise to give it my best.
Good luck Chemmy, it’s great to have you back on the Tour!