SUSF Elite Athlete Program (EAP) scholarship holder Lavinia Chrystal is one step closer to realising her dream of representing Australia at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games, after winning her second National Slalom Championships in three years at NSW’s Thredbo resort.
The Australian alpine ski racer finished the competition with a combined time of 1:29.28. This was 0.84 of a second faster than Poland’s Katarzyna Wasek, with Danish racer Charlotte Techen Lemgart a further 0.41 second back in third place.
It was also her sixth Open National title, but her first since a string of serious injuries.
Chrystal, who has fought incredibly hard to make it back to competition following 18 months of injury setbacks and rehabilitation, is locked in a battle with two other Australian alpine skiers competing for a spot in Australia’s Winter Olympic Games team.
The win at Thredbo is all the important for the Sydney University student (Masters of Management) who is desperate to accumulate as many points as possible following a significant period time spent on the sidelines.
Warming up before competing for Sydney University at the Snow Sports Australian University Championships in Thredbo in September 2011, Chrystal injured her knee.
Having seemingly recovered from the injury, Chrystal then suffered another injury setback after experiencing incredible pain in her left leg while competing overseas.
It was determined that she would have to undergo surgery to her ACL and not the original diagnosis of her medial ligament. Medical examinations also discovered that herleft leg had been fractured.
After experiencing issues following her surgery, Chrystal was then diagnosed with a blood clot. For four months she received three treatments a day.
Competing in front of family and friends at Thredbo, Chrystal was ecstatic with her win, saying “I am just so excited, especially after the past 18 months off competition with a serious knee injury.
“I’ve been working so hard in the gym that it made me want it so much more. I’ve trained for two to three hours every day in the gym in between classes at Sydney Uni.”
Chrystal was also quick to thank Sydney Uni Sport & Fitness (SUSF), who she says have played a special part in her return to elite level competition.
“Thanks once again to everyone at SUSF for their support and hard work over the past 18 months with me. I couldn’t have done this without you!”
Having achieved this fantastic performance in Thredbo, followed by some equally positive results at last weeks Audi Quattro Winter Games in New Zealand, Chrystal is now leading the Giant Slalom standings for the Australia/New Zealand Continental Cup.
“The two personal best results in New Zealand, combined with the national championships are all good signs for the Olympic selectors. There is still work to do, but it’s certainly heading in the right direction! I’m just so happy to be back doing what I love and doing it well!”
Chrystal will now remain in New Zealand for training and competitions until early October, before returning back to Sydney for a few weeks of university and gym training. She will head to the United States for in November for a couple of months, before heading across to Europe in January. Pending the results of selection, Chrystal will remain in Europe until after the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games Olympics.