US skier Cochran-Siegle’s setback fuels Olympic motivation

SÖLDEN, Austria (AP) — After recovering from a fractured neck, Ryan Cochran-Siegle lastly made his return to World Cup snowboarding after 275 days although his look was reduce quick to a single run on Sunday.

The American missed qualification for the second leg of the season-opening big slalom by one hundredth of a second.

Getting crushed by the smallest potential margin often means heartbreak for any skier, however Cochran-Siegle was fast to take the positives from the setback.

At the least he was again racing once more – in a season that features the Beijing Olympics in February.

“I believed I used to be snowboarding effectively, I used to be simply holding on an excessive amount of,” mentioned the 29-year-old Vermont native, son of 1972 Olympic slalom champion Barbara Cochran.

“The situations, and likewise the power of each different skier right here is admittedly aggressive, and I simply wanted to convey extra on this run.”

Cochran-Siegle was having fun with his breakthrough season final yr, together with his first World Cup win in a super-G in Italy in late December, till a horrifying crash on one of many world’s most harmful downhill programs modified every little thing.

He misplaced steadiness when he leaned again whereas touchdown a bounce on the Streif in Kitzbühel, slid off beam and reduce his means by way of the primary row of security nets. He needed to be transported off the hill by helicopter.

Just a few days later, Cochran-Siegle traveled again to the USA sporting a neck brace, nonetheless hopeful he is perhaps again racing that season.

Nonetheless, the fracture of the seventh cervical vertebra of the backbone wouldn’t heal by itself.

“I had the C6 and C7 fused at first of February. The surgical procedure went very well, after which it was like resting, doing not a complete lot for 2 months,” Cochran-Siegle mentioned.

As soon as the fusion was strong, he returned to snowboarding in Could.

“Then I had a full coaching block this summer season in (Swiss resorts) Zermatt and Saas-Charge, that was superior,” he mentioned.

With the pace disciplines of downhill and super-G his strongest occasions, a comeback on one of many hardest big slalom hills of the circuit was at all times going to pose a problem.

“The place I’m at is OK. There may be undoubtedly work to do and I acknowledge that. At this time is nice check-in but it surely’s not the place I need to be,” Cochran-Siegle mentioned.

The harm pressured him out of the season spotlight: the world championships in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy, final February.

It makes him much more desirous to get to the Beijing Olympics in simply over three months’ time.

“Setbacks are good motivators, making an attempt to return again stronger than you had been earlier than,” Cochran-Siegle mentioned. “Figuring out that I used to be snowboarding at that potential and trusting that I get again there, that’s the place my focus is. I need to get again to that form of limitless snowboarding and having enjoyable with it, too.”

Whereas the neck harm doesn’t bodily hamper him anymore, it’s nonetheless behind his thoughts.

“The one holding again is extra identical to psychological, it’s not about harm, it’s about desirous to carry out effectively,” Cochran-Siegle mentioned. “I’ve to deal with that with a purpose to overcome that, trusting the therapeutic. I’m wholesome and I do know that.”

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Extra AP snowboarding: https://apnews.com/hub/snowboarding and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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Eric Willemsen on Twitter: https://twitter.com/eWilmedia

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