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Chemmy - Her fight back to fitness

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    Posted: 09 Feb 2012 at 14:10

Cut down in her prime.

Chemmy Alcott rightfully deserves her title as one of Britain’s greatest ever female ski racers, yet it was only a 2010 accident which thrust her into the public spotlight. Subsequent involvement in ITV’s Dancing on Ice led many to question her true goals and motivations, whilst she continues her rehabilitation from one of the most horrific injuries imaginable.

Beginning to compete at the young age of just eight years old, Alcott’s career was nearly destroyed four years later when she sustained a broken neck. Nevertheless, Alcott became part of the GB Olympic Ski Team as a teenager as well as receiving 4 A’s at A level.

As her career developed, Alcott quickly became Britain’s female number one and held this position for a record seven years. Her participation alone in the Torino Winter Olympics of 2006 was something of a miracle, as she had struggled with bone spurs on her feet, rendering her 11th place finish in the downhill event a truly incredible achievement. It was only surgery in 2006 which enabled her to ski pain free for the first time in her career.

Her return from surgery was greeted by two successive top 15 finishes and she recorded her best ever result, a 7th position in the super combined round at Reiteralm in Austria during 2006. However, it was only two years later that another setback came her way in the form of a broken ankle. It was due to a quick recovery that she regained form and finished 11th in the super combined event at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics.

Nevertheless, 2010 proved to be the year that a truly disastrous injury struck. Despite being plagued throughout her career, the day before the opening World Cup downhill race of 2010 saw Alcott take a tumble and break her leg in two places, destroying her season. Evidently she would not be able to ski again that season and she began a media career during her rehabilitation, working as a guest commentator and on various sports programmes. Nonetheless it was her media decision for the early part of 2012 that caused a lot of controversy.

Chemmy Alcott was confirmed as part of the line-up for the 2012 edition of Dancing on Ice, prompting some to ask why. There were those that felt that she was neglecting ski racing and could have competed, despite the star herself saying that she would not be fit to race again this season. The criticism that came her way prompted Alcott to release a statement saying that “DOI (Dancing on Ice) has given me numerous opportunities including teaching me how to feel my feet, strengthening sport specific muscles and raising the profile of me and the sport I love”. It’s clear that Alcott remains focused on the ultimate goal of skiing once again for her country, whilst regaining confidence. Rehabilitation from such a horrific injury will undoubtedly take time and attention which she needs to be granted to avoid an injury destroying one of the most successful British female ski racing careers of all time.

Andy Cotterill

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