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Rowan Cheshire

World Cup Freestyle Gold Medallist


9 February 2018Rowan Cheshire nearly gave up on skiing entirely after Sochi 2014 horror smash - but after battling anxiety she is now going for gold in Pyeongchang

There is something enticing about winter sports. The height of the jump, the speed of the turn, the slice of the blade. It's daring, but dangerous. Just ask Katie Ormerod.

The Team GB snowboarder arrived in South Korea this week as one of Britain's biggest medal hopefuls for the 2018 Olympics, but two injuries in the space of two days means she will now only be able to watch on from the side of the slopes.

The broken wrist was okay - she could have battled on with that - but after smashing her heel into two pieces on Thursday, the dream is over.

Rowan Cheshire is back on the slopes and ready to compete in the 2018 Winter OlympicsIt has taken plenty of work in the gym to get her back to her best

Freestyle skier Cheshire  suffered a horror crash in 2014 that almost made her quit the sport

She is not the first, and certainly won't be the last. In fact, four years ago there was a different name in the headlines, in uncannily similar circumstances.

Rowan Cheshire, then 18, arrived in Sochi with the wind in her sails, ready to compete in her first Games. But a head injury in training didn't only end her Olympic freestyle skiing hopes, it changed her life forever.

'I don't remember anything,' she recalled to Sportsmail on a Samsung trip to South Korea ahead of the 2018 Games. 'I've seen footage of the crash, that's how I know what happened.

'I basically pushed too hard off a wall. I over-rotated and where I should have landed there was no floor. My body kept rotating and I landed on my head. I don't remember anything from that day.'

Unlike Ormerod, Cheshire's injuries weren't just physical. There were the regular headaches, and at times her anxiety meant she didn't even want to leave the house.

'It was six months before I could get back on skis,' she recalls. 'I had to take a whole season out, just taking time to do the basics again.

The 22-year-old is aiming to become the first British woman ever to win a skiing medal

Cheshire has now arrived in PyeongChang, ready to make up for missing the 2014 GamesCheshire poses at the Opening Ceremony on Friday

'I ended up getting quite a few migraines afterwards. My vision would go, I couldn't speak properly. Anxiety comes from that as well, you feel quite uncomfortable, especially in the early days, and for a while I didn't want to go anywhere by myself.

'Further along as you heal, you start to feel well in yourself physically, the effects of the concussion are gone, but the emotional things are all still there. There's still the trauma of the accident, and going back skiing.

'They were hard points to get over. I saw a psychologist for the whole duration of my recovery, six months or so, and that helped massively.'

In Pyeongchang right now, Cheshire is proof to Ormerod that an injury doesn't have to end your dream. Four years on, she is back at an Olympic Games, ready to go again, and this time she's determined to make it to the competition.

It's been a long road to recovery, but Cheshire - by her own admission - is now fitter and stronger than ever, ready to compete at the very top level.

Cheshire says she is the fittest and strongest she's ever been after recovering from her injury

She has over 18,000 followers on Instagram with plenty of fans following her amazing journey

There was a time where she wasn't even sure she wanted to ski again, memories of the Sochi crash weighing heavy on her mind.

But since then, she has become a star on Instagram, with nearly 19,000 fans tuning in to follow her journey, be it gym workouts, tattoo sessions or trips to the slopes.

The Olympics will surely boost her profile further, but strangers will not be the only ones seeing her compete for the first time next Monday. Incredibly, Cheshire admits even her family have never seen her hit the slopes in a competitive environment.

'I just want to prove what I can do, and show people what I'm capable of,' she admits. 'My family haven't even seen me compete in person. It's all old videos and stuff, so having something for them to see will be amazing. To be honest, I just want to make it to the comp this time!

Her family have never seen her compete in person and will be in South Korea to cheer her on

Cheshire pictured after her Sochi crash...but now she is fighting fit and ready to go

But how far can she go? Great Britain have sent their biggest ever team to Pyeongchang, and there are plenty of medal hopefuls among the athletes. So is Cheshire one of them?

'It's always been a goal of mine to get a medal,' she admits. 'When I was in Sochi I always knew I'd probably have another two Olympics, if not three, so 2014 was almost a bonus. But I hate going to a competition for the sake of going.

'I don't want to just get to the Olympics, I want to do the best I can do. In this one, having had such a mad four years, I think I do want to do the very best I can and be happy with my run. A medal is definitely a goal, but I'm looking past that to the next one. Hopefully I can have a healthy four years.'

After what Cheshire has been through - the smashes, the suffering, and the scepticism – that is the very least she deserves.

Samsung is an Olympic sponsor of the Pyeongchang 2018 Games. To keep up to date with the latest news on Samsung's Olympic activity visit news.samsung.com/UK or #DoWhatYouCant

Source: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/winterolympics/article-5369201/Rowan-Cheshire-nearly-gave-crash-shes-back.html