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Double knee surgery won’t kill Groenewoud’s Olympic dream

Roz Groenewoud of the Canadian Freestyle Ski team takes a break from training at Whistler-Blackcomb in Whistler, British Columbia on January 2, 2013.

BEN NELMS/The Globe and Mail

Canadian freestyle skier Roz Groenewoud isn't letting surgery to both of her knees deter her expectations for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.

The women's halfpipe star injured her left knee in training at last week's Dew Tour in Colorado. The 2011 world champion had the operations done last Tuesday, and is expected to fully recover in four-to-six weeks.

The Feb. 7-23 Sochi Games begin in just over seven weeks. Groenewoud is expected to be a podium contender in women's halfpipe skiing, a discipline that will make its Olympic debut next year.

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"I'm still feeling really good about the Olympics and my chances there," she said during a conference call Thursday. "I think this is definitely a step back … but it really gives me a chance to focus and come back with even more focus having a very outlaid plan of how I'm going to have a comeback essentially.

"I think through this whole buildup to the Games I've been pretty good focusing on the process, not the overall celebration. The surgeries I had on both my knees are very minor compared to what a lot of other athletes have to go through."

Given Groenewoud has had nagging issues with her right knee as well, her team made the decision to scope both joints at the same time after consultation with an orthopedic surgeon.

"The menisci problems of both knees put her at risk for more severe injuries," the doctor, Mark Heard, said. "I'm very optimistic about a speedy recovery."

Heard added the prognosis was excellent given Groenewoud has "two very healthy knees in all other respects plus good leg strength and body mechanics."

Groenewoud, from Calgary, secured her place on the Olympic team this past week despite the injury. She was able to complete the qualifying run and finished 10th.

"The surgery was to address some issues with the lateral meniscus in both knees," she said. "The left one was a bit more serious than the right, I had a larger, more problematic tear."

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Groenewoud hopes to return to competition in mid-January.

"That is totally dependent on how the swelling goes and the advice from the team at the CFSA," she said. "California, nice weather … skiing in California is always so much fun."

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