By Patrick Lang
CORTINA D'AMPEZZO, Italy, Jan 23 (Reuters) - Chemmy Alcott's 42nd place in Thursday's World Cup Super-G in Cortina d'Ampezzo might seem a low-key performance by the Briton but it meant the world to her country's most prominent alpine skier.
Five months after re-breaking her leg, the cheerful 31-year-old speed freak finally made it back on her skis in the Italian resort this week and learned that she will compete at her fourth Winter Olympics next month in Sochi.
Alcott, who came 11th in the 2010 Vancouver super-combined and in the 2006 Turin downhill, had faced an anxious wait after returning to full-time training only in November.
"Yesterday was exactly five months after I broke my leg. The 22nd of the month is always emotional," she said.
"Yesterday, just before the start of the training run, I realised I must have made the team as I had like 100 texts. I was really ecstatic.
"I'm glad they're taking this chance with me. And I'll prove them right because I'll ski fast," she promised.
Since the Vancouver Olympics, Alcott has spent more time out injured than on skis and she said it had "definitely been a tough four years."
She made it clear she had no illusions about the hard work still ahead of her.
"It's tough. I knew it was going to be. But with the progression I'm making from run to run I'm really proud of myself. I know there's a long way for me to go and I believe I can do it and achieve my goals," she said.
She can, in any case, count on the support of her peers, who welcomed her return to the slopes and cheered her when she crossed the line.
"Everybody respects what I'm trying to do. It's tough and it would be tough for an Austrian skier too.
"It's the ski family and they really help me, they're the only people to really understand what I'm going through," added the Briton, who finished 32nd in her Olympic debut in Salt Lake City in 2002.
"With how much I'm enjoying it and if I can afford to do it I'll continue to ski." (Reporting by Patrick Lang; editing by Justin Palmer)
- Sports & Recreation
- Chemmy Alcott