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Chemmy Alcott on her amazing recovery

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    Posted: 19 Oct 2011 at 12:14

'I'll be back on the slopes next year': Skiing sensation Chemmy Alcott on her amazing recovery from horror crash that shattered her leg

  • Last thing Chemmy remembers before crash is realising skier in front of her was wearing a thong
  • Glamour girl of the slopes won't confirm rumour she will star in Dancing on Ice 2012

By Claire Bates

Last updated at 11:59 AM on 19th October 2011

After Britain's top female skier Chemmy Alcott crashed during training at 80mph she feared she might never walk again.

She had broken her right leg in two places with such force that the bones had pierced through the skin.

Now less than a year later, the glamour girl of the slopes is back on her feet and determined to restart her skiing career in April.

'I will need to get new boots fitted in Austria because I essentially have a new right leg,' the Surrey girl told MailOnline.

'Then once I'm skiing again I will need to deal with the mental aspects of my accident. Up till now I've just focused on physical healing.'

Chemmy%20Alcott
Chemmy%20Alcott%20in%202007

Flying high: Chemmy Alcott was an Olympic contender before a split-second error left her with a shattered leg

Blur:%20Chemmy%20cant%20fully%20remember%20what%20happened%20on%20the%20slope%20

Blur: Chemmy has a patchy memory of the accident

Chemmy knows that the psychological scars are likely to be deep. She still doesn't have a full memory of her horrific accident.

The last thing she remembers of the event that would change her life was surprisingly thinking about underwear.

'I was up at the start gate and trying to stay in a relaxed mood,' the 29-year-old recalls.

'And I realised that the Italian girl in front of me was wearing a thong as I could clearly see the outline. It made me laugh. Then my memory is a total blank.'

It was December 2010 and Britain's top female alpine skier was doing her last training run at Lake Louise in Canada. The blonde bombshell was on track for another successful ski season.

But what happened next - and what Chemmy doesn't remember - is that one false move during a jump meant she smashed into the slope with such impact that it shattered her right leg.

'The next thing I remember is being angry with myself for making such a stupid error and beating the slope with my fist,' the skier said.

'Then I remember realising that my leg felt wet.'

 

Chemmy had broken her right tibia and fibula and the wet sensation was blood seeping out from where the bones poked through her skin.

But despite feeling intense fear as she was airlifted off the slope and taken to a hospital in nearby Banff she tried to appear positive.

'I was in a lot of pain but I kept telling everyone "I'm fine, I'm so sorry for causing such a fuss" but then I realised how serious it was from how everyone was reacting,' she told MailOnline.

Following the operation Chemmy, who had finished 11th in the 2010 Winter Olympics, was told she had been fitted with a 20cm-long metal plate fixed with 10 screws. She wouldn't ski again for months - if at all.

Back%20on%20her%20feet:%20Chemmy%20is%20now%20training%20for%20hours%20every%20day%20to%20get%20herself%20back%20into%20peak%20physical%20condition

Back on her feet: Chemmy is now training for hours every day to get herself back into peak physical condition

Chemmy%20Alcott%20using%20Compex%20on%20calf%20muscles%20
leg%20strapped%20up

Help: Chemmy used a Compex device to get her muscles working and wore a protective cage to protect it

But she managed to hold depression at bay thanks to the Canadian professional skiers who visited her every day.

'They made sure I was never alone to think dark thoughts even though they were competing,' she said.

'My friend, the U.S. skier Julia Mancuso virtually slept at the hospital.'

After a few weeks in hospital Chemmy was flown back to the UK and she was back on a rowing machine with her leg in the air within a fortnight.

'I didn't want to end my career on a crash and despite the accident I still loved skiing and didn't shy away from winter sports,' she said.

But then she found out from a visiting TV crew that UK sport had ended all funding for skiing and snowboarding and were diverting the money to curling and bobsleigh instead.

'I couldn't help it, I just started crying,' she said.

'I feared my dreams to get back on my feet were over.'

But the resulting news item triggered a surge of support for the plucky sportswoman.

'I realised that even if UK sport didn't have faith in me, lots of individuals did,' she said.

'Since my mother died I have vowed to seize each day, so I knew I had to see the crash as an opportunity.'

RECORD BREAKER

A%20photograph%20of%20Chemmys%20wound%20taken%20while%20she%20was%20still%20confined%20to%20bed Chemmy, whose wound is pictured above,  was the first British woman to qualify for the World Cup Finals, the first British skier to win a run in a World Cup race and the first British skier to win the British Land National Ski Championships six times in a row.

She competed in three consecutive Olympic Games, in Salt Lake City in 2002, Turin and then Vancouver. In 2006 and 2010 she finished in an impressive 11th place.

She hasn't skied since she broke her leg in two places.

So with help from the founders of the fitness club The Third Space, Ms Alcott started training again.

'We knew that we had to let my leg rest but that meant we could spend time working on other elements of my body,' she said.

'I broke my back when I was 18 and when we watched videos of my races we realised it meant I wasn't croaching as low as I could when going downhill. So my personal trainer came up with exercises to make my spine more flexible.'

Chemmy also used Compex pads to stimulate the muscles in her right leg to stop them wasting away and slept with her leg in a mini ice-chamber to try and numb the pain.

By March this year Chemmy was able to stand on two feet again but she was still suffering.

'I know the pain is not something that will ever completely leave me,' she said.

'But I've been reading the autobiography of Hermann Maier - a world class skier who came back from a motorcycle accident. I find it really useful how he talks about coming to terms with the pain.'

Despite her long ordeal, Chemmy refuses to feel sorry for herself.

'To be the best in the world you have to be prepared to go to the limit,' she said.

'Injury comes with the territory. It's one of the risks you take.'

Risk-taker:%20Chemmy%20said%20she%20knew%20accidents%20could%20happen%20when%20she%20started%20competitive%20skiing

Goal: Chemmy said she wants to take part in competitive skiing again

Chemmy%20Alcott%20has%20been%20pictured%20at%20Slough%20iceskating%20rink

Chemmy Alcott has been pictured at Slough iceskating rink. She is rumoured to be appearing in Dancing on Ice this February

Now she spends 10 hours in the gym twice a week and exercises from home and swims on the other days.

Outlining her Third Space routine she explained: 'I work out with a personal trainer in the morning, then it's an hours of physio followed by gyratonics (a type of pilates), aerobics and a painful leg massage in the afternoon.'

All of which means she is confident of getting back on the slopes early next year with a view to re-starting her skiing career in April.

It is likely that she is also focusing on a certain ITV reality show, due to skate its way back on our screens in February 2012.

However, Chemmy won't be drawn on whether she will be taking part in the next series of Dancing on Ice, just confirming it's a 'rumour' she's aware of.

Either way, her long-term goal is to compete in the 2014 in Sochi, Russia.

'There is a chance that I might not be as fast as I used to be,' she said.

'But I've just got to try.'

Chemmy Alcott will be demonstrating Compex and signing autographs at the Ski and Snowboard Show on at London Earl's Court from 19-23 October

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