Elena Gaskell’s Olympic dream is over before it even began.
The 20-year-old freestyle skier from Vernon, BC suffered a heartbreaking injury on the last day of training, which will prevent her from competing at Beijing 2022.
Gaskell was supposed to make her Olympic debut today in women’s big air qualification. She was also set to represent Canada in the women’s slopestyle competition. Instead, she’s on crutches after blowing out her knee.
In an Instagram post, Gaskell said she tore her ACL and meniscus and has a bone bruise on her femur.
“I am absolutely devastated. I do not feel okay at all,” she said. “I feel like I have worked so hard to be here. I moved towns to make sure I could train more and stay strong. I have been doing everything I possibly can to make sure this wouldn’t happen. I have pulled myself up after each injury to make myself better. I worked so hard this season to get my skiing to where it is. I was finally starting to feel happy and confident in myself and my skiing again and this happens.”
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Gaskell is young enough that she could compete at the next Winter Olympics, but that’s four long years away.
“I know this is going to be the hardest part and it will get better. I will come back and be stronger and work harder. But right now that feels so far away.
“I truly appreciate every person who has already reached out to me. I also appreciate everyone who has supported me endlessly and has helped me even make it here. I am still so grateful to have made it to the Olympics and will try to make the best out of what time is left.”