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Page last updated at 13:58 GMT, Friday, 22 May 2009 14:58 UK

Alcott all out for Olympic glory

Chemmy Alcott
Alcott in action in the World Championships

By Anna Thompson

Chemmy Alcott has dreamt of becoming an Olympic ski champion since she was a little girl.

And in eight months' time she will be doing her utmost to realise that dream at Vancouver in Canada - and become Britain's first Olympic alpine ski medallist into the bargain.

Britain is hopeful of its most successful Winter Olympics since 1936 when gold, silver and bronze medals were won - Olympic performance director Sir Clive Woodward claims the winter sport world is worried about Team GB after what has been a very successful season.

In the last few months, British winter sports athletes have won medals in curling, bobsleigh, skeleton, ice skating and short-track speed skating while snowboard-cross racer Zoe Gillings is ranked fifth in the world.

Alcott is aiming to muscle in on the medal act but the hard work starts here for the ski all-rounder and she is finely honing her technique and physique as she plans a serious shake-up of the ski world order.

The 26-year-old from Sussex certainly talks a positive game and didn't mince her words at a lunch at Claridge's provided by a sponsor.

"I have proved I have got what it takes to beat the best in the world," she told the selected diners.

Alcott was referring to the second leg of the opening World Cup giant slalom of last season in Soelden, Austria, when she recorded the fastest time to move up from 27th to finish 10th - her best ever result in the discipline.

606: DEBATE

The prospects were good for the rest of the season with World Cup podiums and World Championship medals being talked about - but misfortune struck just weeks later when she broke her ankle during training for the Lake Louise downhill in Canada and was out of action for three months.

Alcott admits the injury was "one of the toughest things" she had ever had to overcome but she willed herself better because she was envious of her mates racing while she was stuck in an oxygen chamber or having magnetic therapy in an attempt to speed up the healing process.

In short, Alcott will stop at nothing in her quest, pushing herself to the limit with the help of nutritionists, sports psychologists and a whole host of life coaches.

When you speak to her brother Rufus or head coach Mark Tilston about her, two words immediately spring to mind - dedication and determination.

Chemmy Alcott and Robin Cousins
Alcott shares a light-hearted moment with former Olympic skating champion Robin Cousins

According to Rufus, she has been totally driven since she could just about stand up on a pair of skis, while Tilston states: "Chemmy wants to be the best.

"Whereas others would be happy to finish in the top 15 or top 10, Chemmy strives for more and that is the difference between a world class skier and a champion.

"Chemmy could certainly win a medal at the Olympics but there is a big difference between could and will."

Coming from a nation not renowned for its skiing prowess, Alcott has had to rely heavily on private investment to compete with the big boys. She has used her model looks and bubbly personality to her advantage in securing much-needed sponsorship and who can blame her.

Between now and the Winter Olympics in February 2010 she will be bulking up to give her more explosive power out of the start-gate and then will let loose at Soelden at the end of October.

"Ideally I will go to Soelden and win that race so I will be able to get used to being the best in the world and able to handle the expectation," she says with a straight face.

She even admits to visualising standing on the medal podium, crying with joyous emotion as the National Anthem is played.

"Some say I'm a dreamer," she sighs - but in that she takes her cue from multi-Olympic gold medallist Michael Phelps.

He has been quoted as saying: "You can't put a limit on dreams. The more you dream the further you get."

And it certainly hasn't done his career any harm.



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see also
Cortina result boosts GB's Alcott
25 Jan 09 |  Winter Sports
Alcott sidelined by broken ankle
26 Nov 08 |  Winter Sports
Alcott 10th in World Cup opener
27 Oct 08 |  Winter Sports
Science of skiing
25 Oct 07 |  Winter Sports
Alcott powers to World Cup best
15 Dec 06 |  Winter Sports


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