The long, arduous road back from two devastating knee injuries has been well worth the effort for Kelsey Serwa.
The 24-year-old from Kelowna won the silver medal in women’s ski cross racing Friday at the Olympic Games in Sochi.
Serwa finished second only to Canadian teammate and gold medalist, Marielle Thompson of North Vancouver.
In foggy conditions, the two Canadians charged out of the gate side-by-side in the final and moved to the front early. Thompson then pulled ahead of Serwa midway through the race, then the two hung on to record a 1-2 finish for Canada.
“I’m super happy to be walking away with a silver medal and even happier to be sharing it with my teammate Marielle,” Serwa said.
Serwa, 24, finished fifth at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver and won the 2011 world championship in Deer Valley, Utah. She also has 17 World Cup podium finishes during her ski cross career, which began in 2008 after switching from Canada’s alpine development team. This season, after a summer of intensive rehabilitation on her left knee, she won silver at a World Cup race in San Candido, Italy.
In January, 2012, Serwa ruptured the ACL in her left knee at a World Cup race in Alpe d’Huez, France. A year later, in March 2013, she reinjured the same knee while training in Norway.
Both injuries required surgery and extensive rehab, testing Serwa’s resolve and perseverance.
“Last year I actually thought about stepping away after I blew my knee again,” she said. “Once that came into my mind, I got really sad and realized I wasn’t ready for retirement yet and because I still had some energy left in the bank.”