Road to recovery: Manny Osborne-Paradis working hard to get back to competitive skiing
CALGARY -- Downhill skier Manny Osborne-Paradis is back in Lake Louise, not to race for Canada but to cheer on his teammates in this weekend's Super G races. Osborne-Paradis hasn’t been in the starting blocks since this time last year, when he suffered a terrible injury in a training run at Lake Louise.
Doctors ranked Osborne-Paradis's tibial fracture five-out-of-six in terms of seriousness. The 34-year-old almost lost his leg.
In a Thursday interview with CTV News, Osborne-Paradis said knew how serious it was just before he was taken into surgery.
“It ended up being such a bigger deal than I had thought,” he said. "I mean, you can only really tell by the faces on the doctors and I kind of knew when I was going into surgery how big the (operating) team was, that was there, so that kind of was my last thought before going under: this is probably a much bigger deal than I know of."
Many thought his career was over, but Osborne-Paradis wasn’t ready to give up. Once he found out from doctors it was possible to return to the hill, he got back into the gym. But he knew it wasn’t going to be easy.
“[I knew] it would be a battle back," he said. "But when it’s your job and you’ve got a decent timeline — knowing it would be a two-year injury — we just put the time and the work in and it all should be fine after a lot of hard work.”
Because of the seriousness of the injury, Osborne-Paradis started with light workouts. But in the summer there was a major setback: nine of the 14 screws he had in place to hold the knee up broke.
Osborne-Paradis had to rest. Now he’s stronger and in the second phase of his rehab. Matt Jordan, director of sport science at the Canadian Sport Institute, says Osborne-Paradis has made a remarkable recovery so far.
“The fact that it was slow is understandable. What’s really great is to see where he is from the last test to this test,” Jordan said. "I mean, he’s made substantial improvement and he’s already looking like a new person walking around.”
Manny hasn’t even skied recreationally yet. He’s hoping that will happen soon. As far as racing competitively Osborne-Paradis says he’s driven to get back but he’s also realistic.
“If I can’t win a race, I’m not going to keep pursuing this. I’m here to win and I want to win.”
And if he does make it back to the start line, Osborne-Paradis says the ultimate goal would be to ski for Canada at the 2022 Winter Olympics in Bejing.
The men’s downhill at Lake Louise is set to go on Saturday. They’ll race the Super G on Sunday.