Kucera back on slopes

ERIC FRANCIS, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:38 PM ET

CALGARY - Looks like John Kucera will get a chance to defend his downhill title at the World Championships after all.

Almost a full year after fracturing his left leg at the season-opening super-G at Lake Louise, the 26-year-old Calgarian returned to the scene of the accident Sunday for his triumphant return to the slopes.

“I got cleared on Thursday and hit the hills Sunday,” beamed Kucera Tuesday.

“I cruised around a little bit. At first it was a little nerve-wracking because I wondered how it would feel. But I got to carve some normal giant slalom turns and got going pretty good. It was big for me because you never know. It can feel good in the gym — and I wore my ski boots in the gym — but it could have sucked on snow and that could’ve set me back.”

Kucera is still at least a few months away from returning to the World Cup circuit, but given the severe nature of his tibia/fibula break Sunday’s ski trek was a huge triumph.

“I don’t really have a date set yet but the best-case scenario is end of January or early February,” said Kucera, who plans to ski every second day at Nakiska and take in the season-opening race at Lake Louise Nov. 27 from the finish area.

“The big goal for me is to come back when I’m comfortable and confident and I can compete at a high level. I don’t want to come back at finish at the back.”

J.P. Roy and Francois Bourque will also return to action this season on the men’s side, but Kucera’s return is the biggest news given the former winner at Lake Louise is also the downhill king from the 2009 World Championships in Val d’Isere, France.

“I never doubted my career would continue — I was fairly confident about that,” said Kucera, who took news of missing last year’s Olympics in remarkable stride.

“But the doctors were hoping I could come back for summer camp and when those dates got pushed back you wonder if maybe this year might not happen. But now I know I can slowly get back to racing.”

The Canadian women’s team won’t be as fortunate as Britt Janyk will open the season Dec. 3 at Lake Louise without injured teammates Kelly VanderBeek and Larisa Yurkiw, as well as Emily Brydon who retired last spring.


Videos

Photos