Skicross star McIvor suffers major knee injury
Ashleigh McIvor's skicross season has come to an end on the eve of the X Games and a week before the world championships.
But the Olympic gold medallist tried to look for the silver lining Thursday a day after she tore her anterior cruciate ligament in her left knee on a seemingly innocent stretch of a training run.
"It's extremely frustrating but I'm thankful it's not last year's X Games, because that was our last event before the Olympics," McIvor said on a conference call from her Aspen hotel room. "I don't have a head injury and I don't have a spinal injury, so it's OK, this will heal, and I'll be back racing next year.
"I go through phases of being OK with it and focusing on how much worse it could be and how lucky I am that nothing really serious happened, and then I have my meltdowns here and there," she added.
The 27-year-old native of Whistler, B.C., was injured during Wednesday's training for this week's Winter X Games. She'd done well to navigate what was a particularly daunting course, but then overshot a jump, her knee buckling on impact.
"I kind of caught someone's draft going off a jump, it was three rollers that we were tripling, and I kind of missed making a move off it to absorb it and overshot it by a lot," McIvor said. "I landed perfectly balanced, I just came down so hard from so high up, something had to give."
McIvor, the first female Olympic gold medallist in skicross when the event made its debut at the Vancouver Games last February, said she knew instantly she'd torn her ACL. She suffered the same injury to the same knee in 2005.
Canadian coach Eric Archer said the treacherous X Games course struck fear in numerous skiers there this week, but McIvor wasn't among them.
"This wasn't even one of the intimidating sections of the course," McIvor said. "I was fine on the parts that were scary, that's the fun part of competing in the X Games, it's a real challenge mentally to take that first training run. This was one of the jumps that I wasn't even thinking of as scary. I just flew too far."
McIvor was second at last year's X Games, and was hoping to claim her first career title there this week. She was also looking forward to defending her world title at next week's FIS Freestyle World Championships in Park City, Utah.
McIvor will remain with the Canadian team through the world championships as her family had already planned to meet her there.
"My whole family has uncancellable trips" she said.
She'll have surgery in Vancouver once the swelling goes down, but is unsure when she'll return to her Whistler home.
"My bedroom is up a ladder, so I probably won't be going there. . .," she said, laughing. "Maybe I'll go to some nice beach or something."
McIvor was second on last season's World Cup circuit and had been one of the more consistent skiers on the tour this season with two podium finishes. She figures she faces a good six months of rehabilitation before she can ski again.