Manotick skier gets over bump

ROB BRODIE -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 12:46 PM ET

Sometimes, the message slips through in the most subtle of ways. Or it can positively shout, in a way you simply can't ignore.

When Manotick freestyle skier Elisa Kurylowicz tumbled hard onto her shoulder during an off-season moguls training session in July in France, the immediate consequence wasn't exactly good. Five weeks of lost training, with the biggest season of her life -- the Olympic year, for goodness sakes -- staring her right in the face.

But as the real work toward reaching her Olympic dream in Turin draws closer, Kurylowicz can now say the time away from the slopes has rejuvenated her in a rather necessary way.

"It was almost a sign, that I needed to take a step back," the 24-year-old said this week about the injury layoff. "Now I'm feeling really good. I'm ready to get back into hard training.

"I feel very strong ... stronger than I've felt in awhile."

While her 2004-05 season, which included six top-10 finishes on the World Cup circuit, was a solid one, Kurylowicz was a worn-out skier by the end of it. The stress of qualifying for Turin -- a two-year process that won't officially conclude until just before the Games in February -- was beginning to take its toll. She needed some serious down time, but there just didn't seem to be any room for it.

The injury forced her to put skiing on hold, at just the right time. Kurylowicz made the most of the much-needed break.

"The first couple of weeks, I did a lot of soul searching," she said. "I spent a lot of time on my own. I read a lot of books, I pondered a lot of different thoughts, and did rehab.

"I got away from everything. That's how I rejuvenate myself."

Kurylowicz kept working as a server at the Cock 'n Bull Pub in Bells Corners, and savoured the extra time she had to spend with friends and family.

"It was a really good opportunity for me to be a normal person," she said. "With this being the Olympic year, starting Oct. 2, I'm going to be gone a lot. It was nice to have the time to spend with people who are close to me."

The World Cup moguls season doesn't begin until Dec.13 in Tignes, France, but then it's a mad dash to Turin, with another six events following in rapid-fire fashion.

Canada will likely send four women's moguls skiers to the Olympics, with World Cup results determining the team. Each skier's top four results over a two-season period are considered for selection.

Edmonton's Jennifer Heil has a lock on the top women's moguls position, but the next three spots remain up in the air -- familiar territory for freestylers, it could be said.

"If the Olympic team was chosen today, I'd be third behind Jen Heil and Stephanie St. Pierre," said Kurylowicz.

In other words, right where she wants to be come February, when she's convinced her life-long dream will come true.

"Absolutely, I'll be there ... I'm definitely going," said Kurylowicz. "I have no doubt about it in my mind."

SETTING SAIL: Local competitors performed strongly at the CYA women's keelboat national championship, held last weekend at Lac Deschenes on the Ottawa River. Kingston's Melodie Gummer skippered her crew to to honours, while local teams led by Marie Gendron (second), Linda Schmalz (third) and Marg Hurley (fifth) all placed in the top five. The Nepean Sailing Club and Brittania Yacht Club were hosts for the event.

AROUND THE AMATEUR SCENE: The Cumberland Panthers have established the Daniel Molinski Educational Bursary, which will give $300 to a graduating bantam football player who best combines academic, football and community achievements ... Susanne Russell of the Ottawa Athletic Club Racing Team won the women's event at the Guelph Lake II Triathlon last weekend, in a time of 2:11:10. The event also served as the provincial Olympic distance championship.

rob.brodie@ott.sunpub.com


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