Courtesy of Red Bull Media Service Team
Two years on from a training run gone wrong, she is on top of the world.
In February 2018, Katie Ormerod feared “it was the end”, unable to walk and pondering the conclusion of her career at the age of 20.
Fast forward a little over two years and she has made history by becoming the first Briton to win a World Cup snowboard title.
in PyeongChang in 2018, she broke her wrist and split her heel in a
training accident on the slopes, which ruled her out of competing for a
And after a week in hospital and an 18-month ordeal
involving seven operations, she made a tentative return to slopestyle
action last August and stayed fit for a full-blown tilt at the World Cup
for the first time since the 2017-18 season.
proved the model of consistency throughout the course of the season,
clinching five podium places in all and sealing the title when the final
round of her 2019-20 campaign in the Czech Republic was called off
because of the coronavirus.
“I never thought this would be
possible,” said Ormerod. “I was just excited to do World Cups again so
there was no pressure. I wasn’t thinking about the results and ended up
having the best season of my career.”
The first time she tried
tentatively to get on her snowboard after nine months, the pain was
deblitating. “I did think that could be the end,” she recalled. I
couldn’t get down one run without excrutiating pain.”
underwent a final operation and clinched second place in her first World
Cup on her return – in Big Air rather than slopestyle – to set the ball
rolling on a remarkable season.
“It feels awesome and to be the first Briton to do what I’ve done too,” she added.
is no stranger to injury, having previously snapped her anterior
cruciate ligament, the meniscus on both knees, broken both her arms,
chipped an L3 vertebrae and fracturing a shoulder.
may have seemed the most innocuous of all after failing off a railing,
but in some ways she looks back on it as a blessing despite it being the
most arduous of recoveries.
“I’ve come back a better
snowboarder so I guess that’s a blessing in that sense,” she said.
“Obviously you never want to get hurt but my snowboarding is the best
it’s ever been.
“The timeout meant I could work hard in the
gym, visualise a lot and work out what I wanted to do. Tricks started to
happen naturally like the new double back flip that’s helped me get on
GB Snowsport chief executive officer Vicky Gosling was quick to praise Ormerod following her return to form and fitness.
“Katie has made a phenomenal return to competitive snowboarding this season and has performed amazingly well,” she said. “We are so proud of Katie’s resilience and determination to succeed and we are so excited for the future.”