As mentioned previously on the blog, Apollo is working with extreme sports management company Project Pro Extreme this year. We supply motorhomes and campervans for extreme sports professionals as they compete in various events around Australia and New Zealand.
Over the coming months, we’ll be sharing profiles of and news from some of the world’s best talent. Today, we’re delighted to profile Ski Cross champion Sarah Sauvey. Sarah’s story is truly inspiring. We hope you enjoy reading it.
Full Name: Sarah Ann Sauvey
Sport: Freestyle Skiing
Event: Ski Cross
Residence: Melbourne, Australia
A few words from Sarah…
I started skiing at the age of 3 at Dinner Plain, Victoria, Australia. I began training at the age of 12, which was considered quite late, but my passion for the sport was immense. By the age of 17, I was State and National junior champion in both Slalom and Giant Slalom and in 2003 I was National Open Slalom Champion as well as Junior champion in both Slalom and Giant Slalom.
I decided to make the switch to the freestyle sport ski cross in 2005 after competing at the World University Games in Innsbruck 2005 in the event and absolutely loving it. I knew that I was finished with alpine and thought that the World Uni Games would be my last skiing competition.
Ski cross is a new freestyle skiing discipline. The skiers start the finals in heats of 4 (sometimes 6) competitors. When the starting board drops, the competitors pull out of the gate simultaneously, and pass a course with rollers, big air jumps, corner jumps, compressions, gates, and other features, all at a speed averaging 60-80+km/hr. The first 2 (or 3) to cross the finish line in each heat advance to the next round until there are 4 (or 6) finalists going for gold. There is a lot of pushing and passing through out the course so it’s very exciting to watch, attracting large crowds, the spectators love it!
In December 2005 I was diagnosed with Coeliac Artery compression syndrome. The arcuate ligament of my diaphragm had tightened across the coeliac artery crushing it shut against my spine. The same ligament was also crushing the nerves around my aorta giving me a great deal of pain for many years. I had been collapsing in training and generally feeling stomach pain since 2003.
In May 2006, I underwent open vascular surgery to incise the arcuate ligament and remove the nerve ganglion from my aorta. This surgery had a large mid line incision from my sternum past my belly button. Returning from this surgery was the most difficult time of my life. The full recovery period was 12 months before the stomach discomfort was eliminated. In this time I was able to realign my body, and committed myself to a yoga and pilates program.
After regaining some basic strength I started training again on snow in December. Just 3 months later I had qualified for the 2007 World Freestyle Skiing Championships in Madonna di Campiglio, Italy. I represented Australia at the World Championships on my own, with my rental vehicle, no coach and no support. I managed to ski fast and qualified 12th. I ended up in a heat with the World Champion and a previous World Cup winner, I placed 3rd in my heat but placed 12th overall in the World Ski Cross Championships, a great result.
Ski cross made its debut at an Olympic level at the Vancouver Winter Olympics in 2010. Competing in ski cross at these Olympic Games has been my ultimate goal, and that dream has finally become a reality. On the 23rd February 2010 I represted GB in Ski Cross at the Olympics at Cypress Mountain and finished in 34th place. Being selected to represent Gb at these Olympics was the highlight of a difficult skiing career.