WORLD champion Australian freestyle skier Anna Segal has been ruled out of competition for the rest of the season after tearing ligaments in her knee during qualifying at her last World Cup event.
Segal, who is in the Russian city of Sochi to view the 2014 Olympic Games host city, will not be able to defend her 2011 slopestyle world title in Norway next month.
The 26-year-old, regarded as one of Australia’s brightest gold medal hopes at next year’s Games alongside Alex Pullin, Lydia Lassila and Torah Bright, is expected to be out of action for two months.
Segal sustained the injury in qualifying at the Swiss World Cup event but went on to compete in the final where she finished third.
In hindsight Segal, who has had ACL surgery on both knees, admitted it probably wasn’t the best move to continue competing.
“I’m kind of kicking myself because it was a really stupid decision on my part,” she said.
“It could have made it worse but I probably would have needed a scope (on the knee) anyway.”
She will have surgery and rehabilitate back in Australia and hopes to see some ski time in the United States in April.
“It hasn’t been the best year for me because I was hoping for more and I was really looking forward to upping my game in competition,” she said.
“… but it’s only a minor surgery and I think it will only put me six weeks out and that’s conservative.”
Segal’s injury comes after fellow Australian ski slopestyle competitor Russ Henshaw hurt his knee at last month’s X Games.
After reports he could be out of action for up to six months, Henshaw, another Games medal hopeful, said on his website he could be back on snow next month.
It is understood he is forgoing allograft surgery for now in a bid to ensure he can compete at another World Cup event this season to lock in a qualifying spot for the 2014 Games.
Slopestyle is one of a dozen new disciplines on the program at the Sochi Games and sees competitors perform a series of tricks off rails, jumps and boxes in a purpose-built terrain park. – AAP