& # 39; I never specified: & # 39; Track cyclist Georgia Simmerling rebounds from gruesome injury


A year ago the first Olympic Olympic match of Canada was broken.

Georgia Simmerling crashed during a ski cross competition weeks before the Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, where she was expected to be a medal candidate.

Bones snapped in both her legs. Almost every ligament in her left knee was torn.

WATCH | The Olympic expectations of Georgia Simmerling are coming to an end:

The multisport athlete was a medalist in Pyeongchang 01:03
But only 14 months later the 29-year old West Vancouver, B.C., native again prepares at the highest level and compete this week at the world championships track cycling in Poland.

The way back to the competition was difficult, Simmerling said.

"It was a lot of tears," she said from Cycling Canada's training facility in Milton, Ont. "I was certainly broken, but in the great whole of things I never gave up."

Returning from an injury was not new for Simmerling, who had had previous breaks during her long athletic career.

A year after joining the Canadian alpine ski team at the Vancouver Olympics in 2010, Simmerling wanted to participate in the summer games but was not sure in which sport. (Clive Rose / Getty Images / File)

She made her Olympic debut in Vancouver in 2010 as part of the alpine ski team of Canada and then switched to freestyle the following year. At the Winter Games 2014 in Sochi, Russia, she participated in the ski cross.

Shortly thereafter she decided that she also wanted to participate in the summer games.

Simmerling first tried the rowing, but found that she was better suited for track cycling and started training for the team pursuit.

"I definitely get that feeling of adrenaline that I got from skicross," she said about the sport. "I think competing as a team is something I really fell in love with."

In 2016 Simmerling was part of the pursuit team for the women's teams that won Olympic bronze in Rio.

After winning Olympic bronze in Rio in 2016, Georgia Simmerling returned to the training for the last Winter Games. But a crash in January 2018 ruined her chance to compete next month at the Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea. (Kevin Light / CBC Sports / File)

She also made history and became the first Canadian who fought at different Olympic Games in different sports.

Yet she was not finished skiing yet. Simmerling returned to the training for the last Winter Games and took several podium appearances on the World Championship circuit.

Then, in January 2018, she collapsed during a race in Nakiska, Alta.

Her injuries required multiple operations. Simmerling lost 20 pounds of muscles and spent 11 weeks walking with crutches.

I think that challenges really test us as humans, not just as athletes. I have certainly been tested in my career.– Canadian Olympic cyclist Georgia Simmerling

Then there was the emotional toll – just seeing cyclists riding casually across the picturesque streets of Vancouver would make her look upset with anger.

"I was just miserable," she said. "I did not send good luck to those happy cyclists."

Many tears were shed when Simmerling spoke to FaceTime with her parents and friend Stephanie Labbe – keeper of the Canadian women's football team.

"I think that challenges really test us as humans, not just as athletes," she said. "I've definitely been tested in my career, and this last injury was just a test for me, it puts your life in perspective and it relates your job."

Halfway through her recovery, Simmerling announced her retirement after skiing. She had long thought that she would leave the sport after the Games in South Korea.

"It was not a difficult choice, because that was always my plan," she said.

Georgia Simmerling, who withdrew halfway through her injury recovery in December 2012 from racing over skis, had an overwhelming urge to cycle back on the track. (Jeff McIntosh / Canadian Press / File)

Despite the discouraging conclusion of her skiing career, the devoted athlete had a persistent, overwhelming drive to get back on track, a sport she had left so high.

Returning to the velodrome, however, would require a debilitating detoxification treatment of no less than six hours a day.

"I said to myself:" If you want to race, you have to step back on your bike and get this over. "And I did," said Simmerling.

She could not get back on her bike until September and even then her wounds were not completely healed.

"She came in, atrophied muscles, she could not really get her feet out of the pedals, it was so painful," said Kris Westwood, the high performance director of Cycling Canada.

Last month, Simmerling returned to the competition for the first time at a World Cup event in New Zealand, and helped Canada with a silver medal in the team pursuit.

& # 39; Stoic Perseverance & # 39;

"It was so exciting to be back on the line and to feel that adrenalin in me and to perform under pressure," said Simmerling.

Her team – including Allison Beveridge from Calgary, Ariane Bonhomme from Gatineau, Que., And Annie Foreman-Mackey from Kingston, Ont. – placed a time of four minutes 15.179 seconds in the first round, less than a second of the national record that was set at the 2016 Olympic Games.

"Stoic perseverance" Simmerling has lifted the rest of the Canadian cyclists, Westwood said.

"It's really incredible and pretty inspiring to see that she just takes her natural talents and drives and changes her season so," he said.

On the way to the world championships in Poland, Simmerling said that she feels "super excited" and stronger every day.

"We are super strong as a unit, as a team," she said.

Eyes on Nested, Barrette in sprint races

The Canadian cyclists have not reached their absolute peak yet, but they still hope for a medal in the pursuit for the women's team, according to Westwood.

"We know we can take the time to get us on stage," he said.

"We simply do not know what all others bring to the world."

They also hope for a top-five finish in the chase for the men's team after Aidan Caves of Vancouver, Derek Gee from Ottawa, Adam Jamieson from Barrie, Ont. And Jay Lamoureux from Victoria, BC, broke a Canadian record and captured silver at a World Cup event in New Zealand last month.

Lauriane Genest from Levis, Que., Is also expected to deliver a great performance in the ladies sprint and Hugo Barrette from Iles-de-la-Madeleine, Que., Is a cyclist named to watch in the men's sprint.

The Canadians are in a happy position, where their performance levels are high enough, so they do not have to worry too much about whether they will qualify for the Tokyo Olympics in 2020, Westwood said. Instead, they can focus on perfecting specific parts of their ride.

While Simmerling is enthusiastic about working on another Olympics, she also takes the time to think.

"I am so happy and grateful for where I am now," she said. "I think it's really proof of what I've brought in, the work that's needed today to get here, it took a lot of work."