With season lost to injury, skier Marie-Michele Gagnon looks ahead to 2022 Beijing Games
Canadian suffered torn ACL in crash at Lake Louise
When Marie-Michele Gagnon caught an edge and crashed at Lake Louise, any hope of competing at the 2018 Winter Olympics was lost.
But the 28-year-old alpine skier, who suffered a season-ending torn anterior cruciate ligament in her right knee and a dislocated left shoulder, is determined to be ready for the 2022 Games in Beijing.
"It's disappointing to be hurt at any time and, for sure, in an Olympic year it's even more disappointing," Gagnon said Wednesday on a conference call. "I would say we are lucky that in our sport of alpine skiing it's not just about the Olympics.
"It's a sport that's ingrained in the culture in Europe for many, many years. I would say all the World Cups are very important and overall World Cup titles. Those are dreams I still have. I have to give up my Olympic dream for this cycle but I have four more years after that and I want to make it to the next Olympics, so it's not over as far as the Olympics go for me."
Gagnon, a two-time Olympian who has two career World Cup victories in the super combined event, crashed into the netting during downhill training at Lake Louise, Alta., on Nov. 30.
She knew it was a dislocated shoulder from past mishaps and popped it back into place herself.
But she thought the knee was merely hyperextended, which would need only a short convalescence. An MRI exam showed the torn ACL.
"We did a bunch of manual tests at the doctors," the Lac Echemin, Que., native said. "One right after the race and one a couple of hours later, and both of those tests I passed.
"They thought my ACL was still attached, but perhaps it was a little bit loose. That's why they still wanted me to do the MRI. That was why they were pretty confident that nothing was torn. I felt it was weird, but if they're telling me it's attached then good, I should rehab it and I'll be back to skiing soon. But it wasn't like that. Unfortunately the MRI showed the full tear, basically. There were little wisps still attached."
Gagnon has yet to win an Olympic or world championship medal, but has been a solid competitor mainly in technical events in nearly a decade of World Cup competition.
This season, she finished 10th in Levi, Finland and 24th at Killington, Vt.
She won super combined gold at Altenmarkt in 2014 and again at Soldeu, Austria in 2016 to go with two other podiums and 47 top-10 finishes.