In our exclusive Take 5 interview, Heidi shared her challenges and lessons stemming from a highly publicized, highly complex right knee injury. The injury occurred in Sochi, Russia, in Heidi’s first training run the morning of the moguls event at the 2014 Winter Olympics.
Less than an hour before the event began, Heidi fell and tore her ACL, partially tore her MCL, partially tore her meniscus and broke her femur bone. Heidi was ranked second in the U.S and fourth in the world entering the competition.
Heidi told us that she felt a wealth of emotions as she lay waiting for U.S. Ski Team doctors and coaches to come help her. As tough as the situation was, Heidi knew that her return to the Winter Olympics in 2018 would serve as “a great inspirational comeback story for the people at home watching the event.” She also wanted to see her mother, and ask her if she would still be considered an Olympian.
Heidi was indeed still considered an Olympian, and with the help of crutches, she walked with the rest of the U.S. Olympic Team in the Opening Ceremonies. She says the experience went a long way towards boosting her spirits in a tough time.
Heidi knows she is still in the early stages of her comeback, but her attitude is clearly positive and focused, with an end goal in sight–competing at the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea.
Heidi advises our young athletes who are facing injuries or other setbacks to “just keep doing what the medical personnel tell you to do, because they’re looking out for you and they know how to help you.” She adds that a comeback from injury is “one of the hardest things…but will be worth it.” She says she will “always work hard, because hard work really does pay off.”