Skier Summerhayes targets pre-Olympic World Cup return

By Nick HopeBBC Olympic sports reporter
Katie Summerhayes
Katie Summerhayes competed at the 2012 Youth Olympic Games in Innsbruck, Austria

Freestyle skier Katie Summerhayes is aiming for a return to the slopes "within weeks" after recovering from a long-standing knee injury.

Summerhayes, 18, ruptured her anterior cruciate ligament [ACL] in 2012, but went on to win World Cup silver after a successful comeback earlier this year.

However, a scan revealed a recurrence of the original injury in April.

"I'm feeling really strong and the best mentally I've felt since my injury," Summerhayes told BBC Sport.

"I'll be on the slopes within weeks which I'm a little bit nervous about, but I'm ready to get back on my skis."

Summerhayes has already achieved the Sochi Winter Olympic qualification standard by achieving two top 20-place finishes in World Cup events.

In order to compete at the 2014 Games though she must prove to Team GB selectors she is suitably fit - and able to race competitively - by the middle of January.

"She had a little swelling of the knee in April after the World Juniors and an MRI scan confirmed she had damaged her meniscus - the ACL hadn't healed properly either," GB freestyle skiing head coach Pat Sharples told BBC Sport.

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"Katie skied most of last winter with effectively no ACL and it's been pretty heartbreaking to see her go through the operation and rehabilitation again.

Sharples continued: "She's so determined though and has given it everything to get back with us and will be fit for Sochi."

Summerhayes is expected to train with the other British freestyle skiers, including last season's World Cup champion James Woods, in Colorado, US, in early December.

She is then likely to target either the Copper Mountain World Cup event later that month in Colorado or the Calgary event in early January.

The Sochi Winter Olympics begin in Russia on 7 February 2014.

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