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What I’m looking forward to in the 2014 Winter Olympics

Silvia Mittermüller in the Snow in Breck

This is a hard topic to write about. I wanted to personally compete in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. Everything was looking promising until I tore my Achilles Tendon in December. It was a brutal way of getting my dreams and goals crushed. Instead of an Olympic experience, I added another dark moment to the long list of injuries that – besides all the great moments – inevitably makes me who I am. I’ve gone through 2 months of crutches and casts while the healthy part of the snowboard world dealt with Olympic qualifiers and are now on their way to compete for their countries in the most important winter competition in the world.

Breck Dew Tour Ski Half PipeIt’s an emotional challenge for me to write about the Olympics, even though I do believe that it will be great for my discipline – snowboard slopestyle – to be included for the first time, as well as for my friends and fellow competitors who can showcase park riding on the largest stage ever.

What I am really curious to see during these Winter Olympics is if the Russians have managed to keep and create enough snow to build an acceptable slopestyle course. They had serious trouble keeping their pipe in shape for the test event last winter, and had to cancel the entire slopestyle test event due to a lack of snow. I’ve heard that they built underground snow storage units to keep the old snow from melting, so that; along with the new winter snow they have received, should be enough to build an Olympic-class course. It’s definitely a huge task for a summer beach vacation-destination (which Sochi is) to create good, large jumps with the accumulated snow from the last 2 winters!

Personally, I don’t know yet how many of the events I will really watch. It will be tough for me because it still hurts so much to see others compete in what I was hoping to experience myself. It´s been a great recovery-period in Breckenridge so far, but with the incredibly heavy snowfalls over the last month – being here gets dangerous for me. I am so tempted to try to go snowboarding. I have already put on my boots and board inside my apartment and tried to test whether I could do turns without pain…. I think I could…but that’s not good enough! Starting to bike outdoors just 7 weeks out from surgery was pushing it, but going snowboarding at this stage would be a huge gamble that I really can’t risk. Still, everyday I look out the window and think “There’s so much snow. It´s soft….just a few runs on the beginner lift should be OK.”

The only way for me to stay healthy and sane during my Achilles Tendon rehab, while the Olympic games are going on – is to go somewhere where I can’t snowboard, at least for a few more weeks. So, to give myself time to heal, I found an affordable room in Barbados and will hopefully get renewed energy from the heat and the beach while my friends get goosebumps and high speed heart-rates experiencing their first Olympics in Sochi. Not me. Not this time. But I wish them all the best, and hope everyone watching this year’s Olympics enjoys all of the events, especially the new snowboard slopestyle.

– Silvia Mittermüller

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