Interview by Micah Morris, Jr. Reporter
Fighting Back to the Top
Kelsey Serwa lives on a fine line – a line that if crossed can lead to injury. Athletes of all sport live on this line every day pursuing their love for speed and adrenaline, and push themselves past fears that allow them to achieve goals and accomplishments.
Kelsey is 25 years old and she is a ski cross racer on the National Team, competing on the World Cup circuit. She grew up as a racer in Big White, continuing on to FIS, then the National Alpine Development Team before switching over to Ski Cross. She is an inspiration to me and many other athletes. She always holds a positive mind set, she is an incredible athlete, and has an air of confidence that I look up to. Her many achievements include winning World Cup and X-Game events, and most recently, receiving a silver medal at the 2014 Sochi Olympics. This was no easy task as Kelsey suffered and recovered from two major knee injuries leading up to the Olympic Games.
I think as an athlete we feel vulnerable at our weakest point when injured. We aren’t able to do the things we love the most, and if you are serious about your sport, especially getting to higher levels, it could mean major setbacks. Because of her injuries Kelsey sought help from a sports psychologist to strengthen her mental state. She explained that seeing a sports psychologist was very beneficial for her career as an athlete, it gave her the opportunity to focus on the mental side of her training and rehab. She recognized the importance of not only rehabbing her physical body, but the need to retrain and strengthen her emotions and thoughts also. After an injury coming back to a competitive sport, athletes may experience doubts, fears, or other emotions that negatively affects their performance. Kelsey’s determination to rehab her mental and physical being enabled her to become an even stronger athlete than before her injuries.
Kelsey’s injuries forced her to go back to the basics, working not only on the affected parts of her body, but ensuring that every part from balance to weight lifting to endurance was the best they could possibly be. She told me it was easier to approach everything step by step and set short term goals, get confident with those, and then move forward to the next step. A positive mind set is essential when an injury crosses your path. Instead of dwelling on the fact that you can’t do what you love, you have to accept that you are out of the game and work your way back to the top. You have to be patient and consistent even when you are tired and don’t feel like going to the gym, you need to will yourself to go and remember that even though it will take time, it is worth it in the end.
I asked Kelsey what it was like going into the Olympics after her injuries. She told me that the public and media had reduced their expectations for her to win, so she was able to put her energy towards what was important to make it to the top, and to know that it wasn’t going to be the end if she happened to walk away from the games without a metal. She was able to go back to focusing on the process and not the results. Perhaps this extra stress that was lifted from her shoulders led her to her podium finish.
Injury is hard and can feel unfair after working so hard to get to where you are, but it is part of the game that we play. With enough passion and drive you can push past injuries and come out on top – Kelsey Serwa has proven that.
My name is Micah Morris I am 15 years old, I have been skiing since I was two years old, and am a member of the Fernie Alpine Ski Team. Growing up in Fernie, BC I have had many opportunities in all sports such as soccer, volleyball, mountain biking, climbing, long distance running and hiking. I am surrounded by my family of skiers and I quickly discovered my own love for the sport. I love to compete because it is thrilling and it motivates me to push myself to a higher level. It also gives me a chance to travel around to new places in Canada and in other countries, and meet new friends. I have a great passion for skiing and writing. Not only would I like to share that, I want to be able to inspire the woman around me to continue with what they love and to stay dedicated to their sport.