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Kerfoot on the long road to the Olympics



For mogul skier Sylvia Kerfoot, the 2004-05 season was a breakthrough even if it didn’t start out that way.

After leading off her season with an eighth place finish at a World Cup, she crashed in training and sustained a back injury and concussion. She missed a few events while recovering then slowly regained her confidence on the World Cup circuit, improving her results from week to week.

She qualified for the World Championships with just a few events remaining, and went on to place sixth and eighth in dual moguls and moguls respectively, and second among the Canadians behind World Champion Jennifer Heil.

Kerfoot followed those results with a long summer of training with the national team, and is hoping to pick up this season where she left off.

Still, the summer wasn’t without a few close calls for the 28 year old. While training her newest jump – a full front tuck – at Zermatt, Switzerland, she hyperextended her knee. It could have been worse, but after five weeks of lighter training and physiotherapy, she’s ready to start her World Cup season. She leaves on Saturday for France, and will compete on Dec. 13 in a World Cup at Tignes, France.

"Training will be more quality than quantity over the next couple of weeks, but I’m definitely capable," she said. "I’m not worried about my knee, which leaves me free to focus on skiing the best I can."

The Canadian Freestyle Ski Association has the hardest Olympic qualification standards of any of the winter sports teams. One of the reasons is that the team has so much depth, and with only 14 quota spots for both sexes in moguls and aerials, the CFSA wants to take the skiers that are performing at their best.

In making the final team selection, the CFSA will take an athlete’s top two results from 2004-05, and his or her best two results from 2005-06.

"In any other sport I’d have made it, but we almost have a whole World Cup season to get through before they name the team on Jan. 30," explained Kerfoot. "Our last event is at Madonna (di Campiglio) Italy on Jan. 28, and we have five contests before that."

Despite the added pressure of making the Olympics, Kerfoot hopes to stay on track.

"I feel very confident. I’m reaching all of my goals and I’m skiing really consistently. I had six good results in a row last year, and finished with two results in the top-8," she said.

The team spent the early part of the summer at the new water ramps in Lac Beauport, Quebec. For Kerfoot it meant that she couldn’t work this summer and earn money for her season, but she’s glad she made the sacrifice. It gave her the chance to work on new tricks, including the front tuck which she practised again on snow in Zermatt.