A cycling accident may be delaying Pamela Thorburn’s return to full fitness this season but the British ski cross athlete insists she has learnt from experience not to rush things – especially with one eye on the road to Pyeongchang 2018.
Skiing since the age of three, Thorburn made a name for herself originally on the British Alpine Ski team, reaching number two in the country.
However, after missing out on the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics, Thorburn made the switch to ski cross for the 2012 season.
It would be a decision that would bear fruit almost immediately as she claimed the 2012 British title but there would be further disappointment as, hampered by injury, she failed to make the team for Sochi 2014.
Not one to give up easily, Thorburn has already made the decision to try for third-time lucky come Pyeongchang 2018 – although she is starting the new cycle recovering from ankle ligament damage and a fractured wrist sustained after being knocked off her bike in pre-season.
The plan is to be back competing in December, although Thorburn insists it will be a more measured approach compared to the pressures of last year.
“Sochi was a big goal, at one point it was looking achievable, I was on track but this last year just blew up for me,” she said. “We’ve got some time now, I can be smart and just build up from there.
“You have to re-evaluate after an Olympic cycle and see where you’re at. I’ve decided I can definitely do another four year cycle but I can now take the time to go back and really build up from the bottom.
“I switched from alpine skiing to freestyle, I’m fairly new to ski cross and I don’t know all the ins and outs and all the techniques.
“It’s so different, and now I can have that time to learn it properly and that can only be a good thing.
“That’s quite nice having that piece of mind that you can go straight back into it but I’m trying to be a bit cleverer this time.
“I do take quite a few risks, sometimes they pay off, sometimes they don’t so now I have to be quite smart. I’m not the youngest any more so I’m healing a bit slower than I used to.”
The performances of Britain’s athletes in Sochi coupled with the likes of 17-year-old snowboarder Katie Omerod – the first woman to do a trick called a double cork 1080 this summer –have given plenty of indications of a bright future for the next generation on snow in the country.
But while Thorburn may be among the older crop of British skiers, she insists has plenty more to offer.
“For me I know there is a lot more in the tank, there’s a lot more out there that I can definitely do,” she added.
“I’ve got these goals and I know I haven’t nearly reached any of them yet. That was one of my biggest reasons why I kept going and I’m looking forward.
“This year I really wanted to get the fun back into skiing because last year with being injured , it wasn’t fun any more and it was hard to take.”
© Sportsbeat 2014