Injury nightmare spurring Machon on to Sochi selection

22 November 2013 / 17:05

Great Britain freestyle skier James Machon was fighting for his life earlier this year but his attention is now fixed firmly on securing his place on the team for Sochi.

With a fourth British half-pipe title under his belt and 20th place finish in his first Olympic qualification event in New Zealand, 2012 was all going to plan for Sheffield-born Machon.

That was until October when a training accident on a jump in Austria saw him pick up an anterior cruciate ligament injury that required him to have reconstructive surgery the next month.

Recovery did not go to plan however, with Machon picking up a life threatening infection that saw him go under the knife once again.

But after another eight months of gruelling rehabilitation, the half pipe skier is finally back on the slopes training at Copper Mountain in Colorado.

He will soon be joined by other members of the Team GB set up, and Machon admits he is taking nothing for granted after the last year.

“I now feel I’m a totally more developed athlete and person than before,” said Machon. “Sure, I still have a way to go and I don’t think I’ll ever be satisfied with my progress, I always want to be better.

“Experiencing a career threatening injury this past year really has been a true test for me.

“Most people would think having ACL reconstructive surgery would be the worst thing of the process, but that was the easy bit.

“The toughest bit was loosing my leg muscle and having complications. After the surgery I was admitted to hospital again three different times before finding out I had a life threatening infection and needed yet another surgery to wash it away.

“I was very unlucky but in some ways very lucky I am still here. I’m just loving every day out here in the mountains.”

Both the half pipe and slope style disciplines will be introduced to the Winter Olympic programme for the first time in Sochi next year.

Selection for places on the GB team is hotting up, with the next FIS World Cup event taking place at Copper Mountain shortly before Christmas before another two in January.

But with his eyes firmly on making it to Russia, Machon knows he cannot afford to have any regrets from the next few months.

“Sochi 2014 is my goal and I’m training towards a Top 20 in one of the World Cup’s coming up in December and January to meet the criteria,” he added.

“Having that in the back of my mind, makes me realize the only way to get there is to give it everything, train harder than I've ever done before, leaving no stones unturned.

“I’ve made sacrifices of no late nights, no alcohol, not going go out much, just being 100% focused.

“If I don’t give it everything I feel guilt, and I couldn't live with myself for not being the best I could be.”

© Sportsbeat 2013