WILL COLFORD, SnowSeekers Inc.
“That third gate is seriously wicked,” said Max Isaac as he looks over the men’s downhill course. Today is training day for the skiers, and according to Isaac they’ll need to pull out all the stops to top the podium on a course that isn’t “a token Olympic downhill.”
Isaac is a ski school instructor from Australia. He’s been working in Whistler for five seasons and flies home ever summer to work the winter season in Australia. That way, he skis all year round. The man knows what he’s talking about.
As a downhill racer gets a little sideways through a gate and over a steep, Isaac winces. He’s cheering for a hometown friend.
“I grew up in the same town as Jono,” he says with pride. He’s referring to Australian skier Jono Brauer, one of two Australians to be selected for the competition.
According to Isaac, Brauer was recognized as a natural talent at a young age. He’s been training with the Canadian team for a long time and is the first Australian to qualify for all the Alpine events.
Unfortunately, Brauer has had several major injuries and corresponding surgeries.
“He has trouble even walking,” notes Isaac. “He has had to avoid training, instead just rocking up, doing one ski before the event, then just going for it.”
The Alpine ski events are notorious for season and career ending injuries.
Just this year during the Lake Louise world cup event, American favourite, T J Lanning suffered shredded knee ligaments, a neck fracture, and shattered Olympic dreams all in the same horrifying moment.
But, that’s what makes Brauer so astonishing. Even after all the injuries and all the surgery, and all the abuse his body ahs taken, he’s here in Whistler competing one more time for Olympic Gold.
Isaac, will assuredly be right along the fence cheering Brauer on.
Stay tuned to www.snowseekers.ca/olympicnews for daily blogs, videos and more throughout the Olympics.
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