My health outlook
The Olympic gold medallist shares
how she made it through painful
injury to compete once again
By COLLEEN SETO
Photo by GLEN CrAWFOrD
As the 2006 Olympic
sprint champion in cross-coun-
try skiing, Chandra Crawford
of Canmore expected to be at
the top of her game for the 2010
Winter Olympics on home turf.
But things didn’t go as planned.
In the fall of 2008, her ankle
painfully swelled up with a
severe case of frictional bursitis.
Treatment initially involved
staying off her feet and wearing
an air cast, followed by surgery.
She took the winter off to rest
and heal, only to have the other
ankle flare up in the spring.
Though she didn’t make
it atop the 2010 Olympic
podium, she was grateful to
even compete in Vancouver
and, more importantly, to be
I had to miss the entire pre-Olympic winter race season. I lost a ton of the fitness
I had worked so hard over three years for, and lost the pursuit of excellence that
anchors my existence.
Mentally and emotionally, I was dragged through a tortuous few months of always
thinking I’d be ‘fine next week.’ Despite all this, and diligently following the rest plan
set out for me, the problem persisted. I finally found the key in changing to . . . a much more pad-
ded skate ski boot. My recovery was about six months to a year. Hands-on therapy such as massage,
myofascial work and active release [where a therapist uses massage to stretch the muscle and relieve
tension in the tissue] three to four times per week keeps my peroneal tendons and shins from getting
too wound up with all the training.
I understand now the critical factors in keeping my lower legs healthy, and it’s my
top priority. I enjoy every moment I get to train and race so much, having missed out
on it for a whole season. I appreciate my health and the people who help me out so
I really learned that to gather many opinions is so key in medical situations. Persistence and patience, in that order.