Knee injury gives Segal golden ski chance
Guy Hand
13:10 AEST Sat May 4 2013

Rarely would a sportsperson call a serious knee injury a blessing in disguise.

But for slopestyle skier Anna Segal, a torn meniscus meant a shuddering halt to two years of constant travel and competition, and room for reflection ahead of her greatest challenge - next year's Winter Olympics in Sochi.

The 2011 world champion is among Australia's best hopes for gold in Russia.

On mended knee she might be, but Segal has realised there could be benefits in slowing down before what promises to be a hectic Games build-up.

"I'm feeling pretty strong and ready to get back on the snow at the start of June," Segal told AAP of the knee injury she sustained in February.

"At first, I did see it as a bit of a setback. But I got two podiums at the two World Cups I competed in so ... I've already qualified for the Olympics.

"My mum said: 'You've been travelling non-stop around the world for two years'. I haven't been home in Australia for more than three weeks at a time.

"This has really given me a little bit of time out before the Olympics to get some summer in, get some surfing in, catch up with friends, see family and really recuperate mentally before the next nine months.

"In hindsight, it's almost a blessing in disguise to have some down time."

A former moguls skier, Segal thought her hopes of Games gold had vanished when she switched to slopestyle - which involves trick skiing on rails, boxes and over jumps.

But it has gone from X-Games sport to the mainstream with its acceptance into the 2014 Winter Olympics.

Suddenly, Segal has the chance to parlay a long, varied life in snowsports into Olympic gold.

"At the time I was 16 or 17, my goal was to head to the Winter Olympics for moguls skiing," said Segal, who first took to the snow as a four-year-old.

"Then I had a knee injury when I was 18, which made me think about things a little bit and I just wanted to give free-skiing a try.

"When I finished with moguls, I thought I was giving up my dreams to go the Olympics. I was going more in the professional, X-Games side of things.

"The Winter Olympics have added a whole new element."

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