Alpine Canada went out on a limb to bring me on
the first tryout camp in 2005. I think I only had 2
coaches in my corner. Thank goodness I didn’t
know that. The pressure may just have pushed me
over the edge.. of a mountain. And those are
everywhere on our training camps. So as naive
as I was, I just skied as well as I knew how to and
by the time the summer was over, I had earned a
true spot on the Canadian Alpine Ski Team. There
are a lot of people who love, or genuinely appre-
ciate, the ‘jacket’. Having statement outerwear
that says your athletic status and achievements all
over it. I think for me, I couldn’t believe I was ac-
tually representing our country for something. So
if a hood conveniently hung down over the word
CANADA, I didn’t mind. That way when I tripped
over my laces or walked through a screen door, I
could just be Larisa-being-an-idiot instead of Lar-
day. But, like each challenge I’ve encountered, I
managed to keep pressure at bay and work my
way up through the rankings. Even in the year of
our home Olympics in Vancouver, I was keeping
my cool. I had my most consistent and successful
weekend of racing at the World Cup circuit
opener in Lake Louise, Alberta with a 16th and
two 24ths. I made the criteria to be an Olympian.
One week later, and a short flight to France, I tore
my knee.
My first realization was that I wouldn’t represent
Canada at the Olympics. But as the weeks went
by, the realizations became more anatomical. I
didn’t do the black-and-white tear that guarantees
a return to sport if you put in the work. I had a
giant question mark and a knee made of
spaghetti. I tore my ACL, MCL, patellar tendon
and both menisci. My surgeon, the first person to
see the war zone that was the inside of my knee,
never buttered anything up. He told me it would
be “two years” till I felt “more like” myself. In my
head, I knew he wasn’t aware of my invincibility
and my super powers in healing. In my heart, I
feared he was right.
Winter 2013
Escarpment Magazine
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