Kelsey Serwa of Kelowna, B.C., the ski cross world champion and X-Games gold medalist, suffered an anterior cruciate ligament injury in her left knee during a race in Alpe d'Huez, France.
The injury will sideline the 22-year-old the rest of the 2011-12 World Cup season schedule. It will required surgery to repair the knee. It stands as a major set back for the former alpine national squad skier who became internationally successful after discovering sk cross.
Serwa has won the first two World Cup races of the season and was leading the overall standings when she landed awkwardly during the women's final in Alpe d'Huez last week. She returned to Canada and test results confirmed the ruptured ACL, which will require surgery.
"I stepped on the pole of the girl in front of me before a jump," Serwa explained in a statement. "I caught my leg and it got me all twisted and rotated – I was flying through the air. I landed on my feet but I was still rotating... I'm done for the year."
Serwa switched from alpine to ski cross from alpine in 2008 and, in four seasons, had become one of the sport's top stars with a chance to win the . Crystal Globe as season pointsleader on the World Cup.
"I'll have to save it for another year," Serwa said. "I'm just going to rest and recover, try to keep my muscle (strength) and stay in a positive mindset. You hear of so many examples of people coming back before they are ready. I will see where I am at the start of next season."
Serwa displayed courage to win world championship gold in 2011, only days after injuring her back en route to winning X Games gold. The ACL tear is the first serious injury of Serwa's career, although. her back bothered her last season,
"I've just been thinking that of all the years you could get injured, this isn't a bad year to do it," said Serwa. There is no world championships or Olympic Games this season.
"There's no doubt she would have been in the mix at the end of the season (for the over-all points race) and she knows that," said Eric Archer, head coach of the Canadian ski cross team, "When she hit the ground, that's when the injury happened. [But]she's got a positive attitude and she will do what she needs to do to get back for next season."
Georgia Simmerling, of West Vancouver, B.C., is also out with a knee injury, which is described as "day to day." She is hoping to return to competition this season for the Blue Mountain, Ont., World Cup stop Feb. 2-3.