Here is a little interview I did yesterday with mountain watch. Make sure to check out the website here: www.mountainwatch.com
A quote from Russ’s blog “So after talking about it all season and debating on different designs I finally made the commitment, and went to Canberra and put new wheels and tyres on my car.” New wheels, new knee… Image:: Ben Hansen
Russ Henshaw Interview | Ben Hansen
Russ Henshaw is out for the season. By now news of his knee surgery is widespread, though not being shouted from the rooftops. What isn’t so commonly known is how it came to be. In a season in which he won X Games and World Championship medals, landed the world’s second ever triple cork and generally cemented his place amongst the world’s best the question may very well be, during which escapade did Russ damage his knee? Here is the story… look out for mentions of a possible Olympic campaign…
The Northern Hemisphere winter started out quite well for you Russ, you left Australia at the start of summer and headed for the snow. Where was the first stop?
First stop was Freestyle.ch in Zurich, Switzerland. From there I followed The Big Air pre-season comp circuit to London, Budapest and Stockholm. From there I went of to the USA for a few comps and I was pretty much back and forth between the US and Europe all season.
Two of the biggest skiing competitions in the world are the X Games and the Jon Olsson Invitational, you have been invited to both contests the past couple of years, do you have a preferred event ? Is there much pressure skiing against the best in the world?
Both the events are amazing but are completely different. X Games is like the Olympics of our sport so there is a lot of pressure on the riders to perform well and put on a good show, whereas the Jon Olsson event, although it’s a massive event, is more about having fun, jumping with mates and trying new tricks. It has more of a relaxed feeling and I think that is because of the way the event is put together. Jon puts a lot of time into the way the athletes are taken care of outside of the event and I think that helps relax the riders, which in turn produces better riding for the event.
Russ at the One Hit Wonder 2010 – where the triple cork eluded him. Image:: Andrew Fawcett
The new trick blowing people’s minds at the moment is the triple cork, I know you were thinking of trying one at the One Hit Wonder last year but the jump wasn’t big enough. Then you made it to Alaska where the good people of Alyeska pushed up the perfect jump for you and Bobby Brown to create history. Then at X Games you didn’t quite make it, but at JOI you landed your first triple. What was running though your mind after you landed a triple 1440, especially at a comp like the JOI?
Yeah it was a long road to actually landing a triple. It is something I have been thinking about for a long time and I knew it was possible I just needed the right conditions for it to all fall into place. I tried one last season at Alyeska. I got super close but unfortunately only got to do it once as I hit my head pretty hard when I landed. From there I gave the switch triple a go at X Games and ended up crashing and knocking myself out. Then finally I showed up to JOI hoping to give the triple cork another go. I warmed up with two or three double cork 1080s and then I gave the triple cork 1440 a crack. I ended up landing it first go and to get that done and dusted is an amazing feeling because I feel as though it has been playing on my mind and distracting me all season. I was super stoked to be the first person ever to land a triple cork in competition, which was an added bonus to landing the trick itself.
And if I do say so myself it was very nicely done, now about your ACL, anyone would think that you blew it doing a triple because it’s so dangerous but it all happened on a different trick you were trying. Can you tell us where you were and how it happened?
I was in Alaska filming for Matchstick Productions. I was trying to do a switch unnatural dub 9 so I had all four double corks in my arsenal of tricks. I did a few switch unnatural rodeo 5s and then went for the switch unnatural dub rodeo 9 and I knuckled which bounced me in to the landing. When I landed my body kept rotating and I felt my knee pop. Initially I was in a lot of pain but the pain left and I was having trouble walking. I flew home and saw my specialist in Sydney and it turns out I tore my ACL and I needed surgery.
And that is defiantly not something an athlete wants to hear, so the next step was surgery, which you had about a week ago, and your loving dad Steve helped out, cutting the recovery time down and creating a stronger knee for the future. What were the steps involved in your surgery?
Well my dad was nice enough to donate his hamstring tendon instead of using mine, which means my recovery time is much faster because I won’t have to build up my hamstring strength as much. Plus I think dad really wanted to compete at the X Games
Russ, third at the inaugural FIS World Championships in Park City, with fellow Australian Anna Segal, who claimed the title in the girls slopestyle.
And now he will! With your dad’s hamstring you are on the road to recovery. What is involved to get your knee strong enough to ski again and when do you see yourself being back on snow?
I’m not 100 per cent sure when I will be back on snow because I have never injured my ACL before. It could be four or five months if I’m lucky and work hard, but it’s more likely to be six months until it’s ready for full impact skiing again, ie jumping, which means I’m just in time for the Northern Hemisphere winter.
How is your dad going after the surgery I came around the other day and your both hobbling around?
Dad is pretty much fine now. His surgery is only a six-week recovery where as mine is more like a six-month recovery. I will continue to struggle whereas Dad will be fine in no time.
Six months of Physiotherapy, what does that entail? Do you have a weekly program?
Well at the moment, because I have just had surgery, I am seeing the physio twice a week and she is giving me exercises to do at home. But I imagine as the recovery goes on I will be seeing them less and less and doing more of it by myself.
And I hope it is a fast recovery, it’s always crappy watching mates miss out on a season. Once your knee is strong what are your plans for the next northern hemisphere winter?
My plans are to do fewer competitions and focus on the major comps and then film as much as possible with Matchstick Productions and Field Productions. I hope it works out and I can put at least one good segment together.
We can see Russ in the new Matchstick and Field Production movies that are out around September this year. I know it’s a couple of years away but with Halfpipe already confirmed and Slopestyle also a possibility, do you have any plans for the Olympics in 2014?
Yeah man if slopestyle makes it in I would love to go and represent Australia. I don’t want to rule out competing in halfpipe but at this stage I would like to focus on slopetstyle and filming.
Well lets hope slope does make it in and Australia rules the world. Thanks for having a chat and letting us know what’s up. Your already walking so it’s looking good so far.
Pay a visit to Russ’s blog – www.russhenshaw.com – for photos of his post-surgery knee