Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Toronto Star Article - Tuesday January 29, 2008

Check out the article below courtesy of Randy Starkman and the Toronto Star.

Here is a link to the original version with a photo as well: http://www.thestar.com/article/298272


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GYMNASTICS

TheStar.com Sports Long road to Beijing for Canada's Shewfelt

Long road to Beijing for Canada's Shewfelt

Shewfelt tries to keep his eye on the Olympics as he struggles to recover from two broken legs


Jan 29, 2008 04:30 AM Randy Starkman SPORTS REPORTER

It's not a blog as much as it is therapy for Kyle Shewfelt.


The Olympic champion gymnast is baring his soul on the Internet as few athletes have as he endures a physically and mentally grueling comeback from two broken legs to try get ready for the Beijing Games in August.

Here are a few excerpts from a particularly heartfelt entry earlier this month:


"On the inside I feel like I am clawing away and just trying to survive."

"I am caught in a vicious circle and I feel like I am spinning a little out of control. I don't know if (seven) months is enough."


"It freaks me out a little bit to think that at the end of all of this hard work, sacrifice and struggle that it might not work out the way that I and everyone else wants it to."

Shewfelt said he's not using his blog (kyleshewfelt.blogspot.com) to keep people informed.


"It's more for me actually," he said yesterday from Calgary. "It's my way of getting that stuff out. I'm going through a lot right now. It's an emotional and physical and mental battle that I'm fighting. I feel sometimes when I can write things down and get them in front of me, then I can read them and I can reflect and get a better perspective rather than just be constantly in the turmoil of it all."

These are tough days for Shewfelt, a constant and painful grind since that day last August when he landed stiff legged on a layout Arabian double front on floor exercise and heard a sickening crunch.


He was in Germany, training for the world championships a week before the event, he was in the best shape of his life and he tried to convince himself it was something he could walk off. He hobbled out of the gym on crutches, but told his teammates he'd be back.

He was true to his word, only he returned in a wheelchair to cheer them on as against all odds they qualified Canada in the men's event for Beijing with an 11th-place finish.


It turned out he'd fractured the top of the tibia in both legs. He has one screw in his right leg (that's the good one). He needed a plate and two screws in the left, as well as a repair job on a ligament that was damaged, and a bone that was detached from the side of knee. (Hence the crunching sound.)

The surgeon didn't give Shewfelt a timeline; he just told him to refrain from anything causing extreme pain.


The days are long and the progress is minuscule, especially for an athlete with one eye on the calendar as Beijing approaches quickly

"You just get exhausted, emotionally exhausted, physically exhausted, mentally exhausted," said the 25-year-old from Calgary. "I try to make them all good days, but it's impossible. Some days are just really, really crappy."


Shewfelt had wanted to be 100 per cent by the end of this month, but that turned out to be totally unrealistic. He can do some tumbling and dismounts from the high bar, but he can't run full speed on the floor or do any vaults. His goal now is to do that by the end of March.

While it's clear from his blog that he's felt desperate at times, he refuses to give up the dream.


"I've always been the type of person who wants to exceed my own limits," said Shewfelt, who won gold on the floor in 2004 in Athens. "I want to look back in July or August and know that I did everything, absolutely everything, that I could possibly do. ... I don't want to look back and have any regrets and say `Oh, I could have worked harder.'"


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I really like this article. Randy is an amazing writer and huge supporter of amateur sport in Canada. Thanks Randy!


If there are any new viewers to my blog, Welcome and Enjoy!

Kyle

1 comment:

Jennifer said...

Kyle! I read this article in the paper this morning, and wanted to send you warm wishes for a successful recovery! Don't lose faith. You are an amazing person. Keep up the awesome work!!