Macartney’s back and aiming For the Top |

Macartney’s back and aiming For the Top


MAMMOTH, Calif. – It took Scott Macartney (Crystal Mountain, WA) less than five months to go from lying in a hospital bed with a severe head trauma to clicking into his bindings for an on-snow training camp with the men’s U.S. Alpine Ski Team at Mammoth Mountain. This fact clearly illustrates the feelings he has for skiing.”It’s my life,” he says. “It’s what I do. Beyond that, it’s not just something that I do passionately, it’s something that I’ve had to give a lot to be able to do.”Macartney’s return to the sport that defines his life was a process that, not unlike the tales of many of sports’ heroes, began with a tragedy and eventually grew into a story of courage in the face of adversity. On Jan. 19 – his 30th birthday – Macartney was flying down the Streif in the famed Hahnenkamm downhill in Kitzbuehel, Austria. With the speed he was carrying, many expected he would have had a top -0 finish when suddenly he crashed coming off the last jump.The impact of the crash and sliding unconsciously through the finish is something that Macartney has only seen in videos and heard through the words of those close to him.”It’s kind of weird explaining to people that you can take crashes that are way harder but as long as you don’t hurt yourself, you can pick yourself up and walk away,” Macartney says. “If I wouldn’t have hit my head so hard, I would have been just as sore in the morning, but I would have gotten up and walked away.”Although he did not walk away in Austria, Macartney knew where he wanted to be when he woke up, and after taking months to get there, he is ready to finish what he started.”I never even thought about not coming back – that never came into my mind at all. I still have a lot of things I want to accomplish in the World Cup and in Whistler and I have a lot of things that I’m looking forward to,” Macartney says after a day of training that involved a great deal of fundamental ski work. In Mammoth, Macartney is working on what coaches call the “return to snow” program, which involves drills and movement patterns at slow speeds that are intended to get athletes focusing on the basics of skiing as a foundation to build upon. “It’s been fun to get back on snow and work on my skiing again while thinking about next season,” he says. “It’s good to be back both with the group and on snow in a more official format.”Macartney is taking a step back and trying to focus on fine-tuning his fundamental skills at this camp, which he believes will help him to attain the goals he has made for himself this season.”It’s a progression, of course, but my goals last year were to move up in the standings with a couple podiums and perform in the big races, and it’s a center focus for this coming season,” Macartney says. “I want to expand from what I did last year and hopefully more consistently be in that top group and on the top steps of the podium.”Before his crash, Macartney was third at the Val Gardena, Italy downhill the month prior and ranked 22nd in the World Cup downhill standings heading into Kitzbuehel.Macartney also has his sights set on accomplishing the Olympic victory he came so close to in 2006. He was tracking well going into the Games from his career first World Cup podium, second in the Garmisch, Germany super G, just weeks before Opening Ceremonies.”Looking back at Torino, I was skiing well going into [the Games] and I had a shot at it. I ended up less than three tenths away from a medal – it was right there,” he says. “Saying I want to win a medal in the Olympics is pretty easy, but I know if I get that momentum going, it’s a possibility for me. “My goal is to go in there firing all cylinders and give myself the best chance of finding my way onto the podium [at the Olympics].”In order to reach his goals, Macartney has a long road of training and competition ahead of him – but he already knows as much.”You just give yourself a shot and nothing’s guaranteed. It’s that year-round dedication to the sport that’s necessary to do well,” he says with a focus in his voice that assures he will complete what he has set out to do.Macartney will break from training in Mammoth near the end of May before heading to Park City for the men’s Team hockey and conditioning camp at the end of June.

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