Having taken a year off from Team Canada’s ski cross team hasn’t dampened the competitive fires of Kelowna Olympian Kelsey Serwa or lessened the pressures on her schedule as she works towards returning to Canada’s national ski cross team next season.
Serwa, now 25, is ready to embark on a trip to Prince George where she will act as an honourary captain for Team BC at the 2015 Canada Winter Games, kicking off next week in B.C.’s northern capital.
It’s a return to her roots for the 2014 Olympic silver medalist, who took part in the Canada Games in 2007 in Whitehorse as an alpine skier. Serwa returns to the games as a shining example of a Canadian success story, having won an Olympic medal seven years after competing as a young, up and coming athlete.
“This is very special for me and it’s something I have been looking forward to all winter,” said Serwa this week. “Being away from racing is giving me a great opportunity to participate in this. I’ve always believed in giving back. I’m going to share my story and let all the athletes know it’s okay to be nervous and to have a little bit of anxiety. You have to push through that and help each other succeed. It’s all about being together as a team.”
Serwa showed that determination to push through adversity and jitters in winning a silver medal in ski cross at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. After suffering serious injuries to her knee in back to back seasons, Serwa said she probably wouldn’t have been competing had it not been an Olympic year. Still she tackled the ski cross event with her typical abandon and claimed the silver medal.
Opting to take a year off was difficult, but already she says she is strong and will be well prepared for the next ski cross season.
“It was tough because there was still World Championships this year but my knee never really had a chance to heal,” she said. “It feels awesome now. I’m training full-time in a similar program that I would do in the off season so it should give me an advantage heading into next year.”
And she will likely be hungry to win more events as well after spending a year training. Spending time at the Canada Games and at qualifying events leading up to the games will do nothing but help rekindle her passion to compete.
“Taking in the Canada Games qualifying for ski cross at Big White and just being around all the kids and seeing how eager they are it makes you want to get back into it,” she said. “When I get into the gym I’m more motivated to push hard. I noticed it watching my teammates compete this season and seeing them do well. I think competition is contagious. It just makes you want to be a part of it.”
The Canada Winter Games in Prince George take place Feb. 13 to March 1.