Snowboard - Ormerod confident in Sochi fitness battle

Katie Ormerod could well be the youngest and smallest member of Great Britain's Winter Olympic team - but she's even more determined than she is diminutive.

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Ormerod, 16, doesn't remember much about the last Winter Games in Vancouver - after all she was only 12 - meaning most of her Olympic memories come from last summer in London.

But her family certainly aren't surprised by the speed she has established herself on the world stage.

After learning to ski as a four-year old, Ormerod - who stands just 4ft 9in in her ski boots - took delivery of her first snowboard one year later and has been careering downhill quickly since, with her current claim to fame being the youngest female to land the double backflip.

But her Sochi dream nearly ended after her first appearance this season, when she crashed heavily in the snowboard slopestyle at the New Zealand Winter Games.

She recently underwent knee surgery on a torn lateral meniscus but insists she'll soon be back in action, with her target December's next stop on the World Cup circuit in Italy.

"I won't be back on the snowboard until November or December time but thankfully we've got three World Cups this season and I won't miss any," said Ormerod, who is now combining a punishing schedule of physio and strength and conditioning rehab with starting her A-Level studies.

"After I fell I put the injury out of my mind and just tried to focus on getting back to the start to complete my second run. It was only when I got there I realised I couldn't really stand up.

"I thought it was just a niggle but when I found out the extent of the injury I was gutted and there were some tears. It could have been a lot worse but when I found out I needed surgery I was pretty upset again.

"Sochi is so close I can touch it and I really want to go. I'm only 16 and I know there will be other Games but I'm not thinking about that, I want it now and I'm staying positive."

Ormerod's impressive top ten at last year's World Championship in Stoneham secured her the first tick in the qualifying criteria. She now needs to be ranked inside the world's top 24 next January - she is currently 30th - to seal selection.

"I'm just focussing on getting better but my injury won't make me hold back. As soon as I get back on the snow, I'll be giving it every thing I have," she added.

"I know I need to stay strong. It's not affecting me too much, I can still walk and mentally I'm very positive. I just want to be there so badly."

© Sportsbeat 2013

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