Freeskiing Pioneer Looks to Future
PARK CITY, UT (Jan. 18) – Freeskiing champion Jen Hudak, a six times X Games medalist and the face of her sport of halfpipe skiing since it burst onto the Olympic stage, is on the sidelines this weekend with a knee injury that will keep her from realizing her Olympic dream. Hudak, who had recently staged a dramatic comeback following a knee injury in 2012, suffered a new knee injury training for the first Olympic qualifier at Breckenridge. A subsequent exploratory surgery revealed that the damage to her knee would require a recovery time that would extend beyond the Olympic Qualification period and made it impossible for her to ski safely again this month. Hudak is focused on her recovery for the long term and getting back to a healthy and active outdoor lifestyle.
- Freeskiing champion Jen Hudak, a six times X Games medalist and two time champion, is on the sidelines in Park City this weekend with a knee injury that has ended her bid for a shot at the Olympic Team following a training crash at the Dew Tour in Breckenridge, CO this past December.
- Hudak suffered a torn meniscus and torn anterior cruciate ligament to her left knee. She underwent exploratory surgery in December with Dr. Stone in San Francisco and the damage was too extensive for her to ski safely again during the Olympic Qualification period. Dr. Stone repaired her meniscus and ACL.
- She was making a comeback after injuring her right knee in 2012, returning to action at last February’s X Games in Aspen.
- Hudak has been the face of freeskiing since its Olympic debut was announced in 2011. In 2010, she swept X Games gold in Aspen and Tignes, France.
Even though I will not be able to say that I am an Olympian at the end of this 2014 season, the Olympics is still a huge part of my story. Though my heart is broken that my road to Sochi has come to an end, I proceed with a smile on my face. This sport has caused me more than enough tears- tears of joy and tears of sadness.
Setting my sights on a goal that didn't exist when I started out was a huge risk that brought many rewards. That single goal carried me so far and to walk away knowing that I did all that I could do, holding my head high, is all that I can ask for. Thanks to everyone for believing in me and for giving me the chance to live out my dreams. I realize that I am amongst the fortunate ones.
In this next phase, I choose to be happy, to feel pride in having come so far and to be grateful that I have had great people behind me every step of the way. My first thought when I learned about my knee was that I couldn’t wait to ski again. Right now, I am diving head first into rehab and am more committed than ever to get strong once again.
Jeremy Forster, U.S. Freeskiing, Director of Freeskiing and Snowboarding
Jen is one of the great champions of freeskiing and one of the key reasons this sport is going to Sochi next month. Her pioneering work in galvanizing the freeskiing community helped to put the sport on the map and attract the attention of the IOC through great athletic achievement.