Chemmy Alcott’s battle to make her fourth Winter Olympics was the toughest of all but she insists with the right conditions she can overcome the odds and leave a mark at Sochi 2014, writes Pippa Field.
It was feared that the Twickenham alpine skier might miss out on a trip to Russia when she broke her leg while training with the Norwegian team in August – the third time she had suffered the injury in her career.
What followed was a race to prove her fitness, a quest not helped when her scheduled World Cup comeback in Italy last month was postponed just days before the window for selection slammed shut.
Despite the setback, selectors opted to include the former Surbtiton High School student, who finished 11th in the downhill at Turin 2006 before repeating the position in the super-combined at Vancouver 2010, in their 56-strong squad.
And she proved she was back on the road to racing form, as with the weather clearing at the Italian resort Cortina d’Ampezzo, she marked her World Cup return by finishing 23rd in Super G.
It was her best World Cup finish in almost four years, and, while refusing to get carried away by setting herself any targets for Sochi, Alcott is determined to make sure she savours the experience.
“Everyone wants to put statistics on this, but until I’ve done a training run and see how the track is and seen how it suits me then I’m not going to put any numbers on it because I don’t want to look like I’m underachieving or overachieving,” said Alcott.
“I want to be pragmatic about it and know how the hill suits me. I know that I am skiing very fast in sections at the moment, but if I can put some consistency in then I could get close to the results I have achieved before.
“After Vancouver I committed everything I had to getting onto this team, obviously for me it was very tight with the decisions.
“It was the most stressed I had been going into team selection so I think there is so much happiness now that I didn’t really register for the other Olympics.
“For the last Olympics I expected to be in the team so I had my place whereas this time I felt like I was fighting for it so it was massive satisfaction to make the team.”
While a possible outing at the 2015 Alpine Ski World Championships in Colorado may be a potential aim, Alcott insists the Sochi 2014 Games, which run from February 6-23 will be her last.
In the 12 years since Alcott first made her Winter Olympic bow, Great Britain have picked up four medals, but with three set as the target this time around, she is confident the squad can deliver.
“In the past we had always had a Winter Olympics team with someone potentially who could come back with a medal,” she added.
“But then to be part of this team, which I truly believe will be the best Winter Olympic team we have ever had, there are so many chances for medal winners out there, it really is great for me to be a part of that.”
* The British Olympic Association is the National Olympic Committee for GBR and NI.
The BOA prepares the ‘Best of British’ athletes for, and leads them at, the summer, winter and youth Olympic Games.
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