Sports » Features

McIvor out for season

X Games injury downs U.S. Open champion


Whistler’s Ashleigh McIvor will miss the rest of the competitive ski season after damaging her knee last week at the X-Games.

The 21-year-old McIvor, who won the U.S. Open title the week before the X Games, tweaked her knee in training earlier in the week, but decided to race the skiercross anyway after getting a doctor’s opinion. One doctor told her the knee wasn’t "particularly vulnerable" to further damage.

She was back on her skis two days later after giving the last training day a pass, and was fifth after the time trials. "Which was just fine, considering I took a really mellow and slower line around the huge table-tops in an attempt to let my knee calm down," said McIvor.

The finals took place Feb. 2, and by then McIvor was fully committed to the race.

The race itself took part on a massive course with huge jumps and drops, and two other women were injured on the way down. There were questions regarding the difficulty of the course, but all of the athletes agreed that it was within the norm for the sport.

"I was in the second heat of the semi-finals and, unfortunately, two of the girls in the first heat were knocked unconscious in a crash-collision off the huge tabletop," McIvor said this week. "It took a really long time to get them off the course and proceed with the race, and we could hear over the radios at the start things like ‘her eyes are open, but she’s not responding’, and that one girl had a serious head injury.

"I didn’t think that issues like that really affected me, but looking back I think it did. Before the lengthy hold on the course I was really excited to run the course and I just kept thinking about how much fun it was going to be. But during the hold these nasty, negative thoughts somehow kept creeping into my head."

McIvor got off to a good start in her heat, and was in second place behind Sanna Tindstrom of Sweden, who holds the world record in speed skiing. When they got to the "whoop" section, six rollers placed closely together, McIvor said she froze up and lost a position. She tried to make up the time again, and was in a battle to hold onto third when she went into the step-down jump.

"As we landed, my knee fell apart," she said. "It basically just blew on impact and then I fell over in agony. Wow, did it ever hurt!"

McIvor said the jump and the landing were pretty standard, and believes that the earlier injury may have been a factor. She fully tore her anterior cruciate ligament and partially tore her medial collateral ligament. She may also have damaged her meniscus.

McIvor’s qualifying time was taken into account and she was credited with 10 th place overall.

There’s no word yet on recovery time, but McIvor already says she’s looking forward to getting back into racing.

"I’ll be back and ready to pin it in no time!"