2014 has been a year I will never forget. I’ve had dreams come true and things happened that I never in my wildest dreams thought would have happened to me. I think I would split my year in to two fazes: The Olympics and surgery/recovery.
I’d say the Olympics consumed my life for the first portion of the year. All the build up, the hype and the personal challenge I had of trying to ski without an ACL in my right leg just to try and make it all happen. Going to the Olympics was a dream of mine when I was a kid and to be able to get there and represent my country was a dream come true. It didn’t happen without any challenges though.
I tore my right ACL the year before and decided to try and ski without an ACL so that I could qualify for the Olympics and hopefully learn some new tricks. It was a challenge and I was constantly worried about the possibility of doing more damage to my knee, but ultimately the draw of the Olympics was more than enough for me to continue skiing. The first 2 events I did of the season went well with two back to back 3rd places at the dew tour and the followed by the Grand Prix. Then the 3rd event, the Xgames, was when things went south.On my last run in finals I knuckled the jump and tweaked my left knee. I thought nothing of it at the time but we soon found out I hard also torn my left ACL. Perfect timing since it happened 5 days before training was meant to start in Sochi.
It wasn’t until Sochi that I had my knee checked properly and it was there the Australian doctor had his doubts and told me the bad news. I immediately got a brace and decided I had made it this far and I wasn’t going to give in. I wanted to see if I could still ride without them, which I knew was a possibility as my friend PK had neither of his. Training at Sochi was horrible and I don’t think I landed any tricks properly before the day of semi finals.
The most memorable part of 2014 for me was landing my first run in qualifying and skiing into the finish area. I had overcome some of the most intense pressure I had ever put myself under. I ended up making it to finals and tried to put a run down I was happy with and felt was competitive but due to the lack of training I just couldn’t make it happen.
As soon as the event was done I started to organize how I was getting home to sort out my knees. I flew out of Russia and stayed in Zurich with a really good friend and his family for a week sorting out my flights and trying to make sure, as soon as I got home, that I could get straight in to see the doctor about my knee’s. Within 2 weeks of being home, I was in to see the doctor and another two weeks after that I had surgery.
I chose to have Achilles Allo-graft surgery. Which basically meant it was a stronger graft which enables the patient to return to sport faster than usual. I had both legs done at once and at the time, it sucked. But looking back on it I wouldn’t change it at all.
I spent the first week pretty much not being able to walk and relying on Laura to help me in and out of bed, helping me get to the couch and basically relying on her if I needed to move at any stage. Sleep was super uncomfortable and I think I spent the first 2 or 3 weeks sleeping flat on my back.
The Recovery was actually really fast though. I remember each time I would see the Physio, Pam. She would mention what I should be able to do the following week, and I never thought it was going to happen. But sure enough the following week I was able to do the task’s she had set me.
Towards the back end of my recovery I decided to go on a holiday with Laura. After everything we had been dealing with it seemed right to try and take a break. I obviously continued the rehab and I went on a bunch of hikes and swam as much as possible but I also got to spend some time at the beach and relax. We even managed to catch up with a few friends while we were there which made it super fun. It was the perfect way to finish of the rehab before heading back to Aus to get the season started.
I had surgery in March and I was back skiing in June. It was a super fast recovery for a double ACL surgery and I am more than stoked I decided to do it like this as the season in Australia this year was awesome.
Getting back on snow was a challenge and it was definitely kind of nerve wrecking trying to get tricks back. Tricks came back relatively quickly which was a bonus as I had planned to film an edit for the Australian season. The edit went ahead and I am super stoked on the outcome. If you want to check it out follow the link: http://www.redbull.com/ca/en/snow/video-series/1331691172468/russ-henshaw-freeskiing-video-australia
All in all I think 2014 was one of the most challenging years I have ever experienced. I have learn’t a lot about how I cope with pressure, how I deal with injuries and how much fun skiing still is to me after all the things I have been through.
I couldn’t have made these dreams come true or have been able to recovery as well as I did if it wasn’t for my awesome sponsors who have been supporting me for years. Thank you Redbull, Volkl, Adidas, Leki, Dalbello, Spyder, Blue Tomato and Perisher. I couldn’t have done it without you guys.
I also couldn’t have done it without Laura. She was there through it all and helped with everything. So thank you!
2014 was fun and a year I won’t forget but I’m ready for a fresh start in 2015!
Lets do this…