We've featured her in our February issue, but read more from our interview with ski racer and Dancing on Ice star Chemmy Alcott here!
She's glamorous and strong, accomplished and spirited and most of all a genuinely lovely and inspiring woman, so we wanted to share more from our interview with British number one alpine ski racer and Dancing on Ice star Chemmy Alcott (in this month's issue) with you.
Before lacing up her skates for Dancing on Ice, Chemmy sat down with us in the Kinect Ski Chalet in London's Ice Bar (brrrr!) for the launch of Kinect Sports Season 2 on Xbox. With a blazing fire and cosy faux fur blankets to keep us warm, we talked all things ski racing, how she spends her time off and the now infamous thong story!
Chemmy revealed that, while getting her to ski for the first time at 18 months old may not have been easy (she had to be bribed with sweets!) she was born to compete in the sport: "My dad was a rugby player and my mum was a swimmer, so I have my father's glutes and my mum's lungs - I was meant to be a skier!"
In a serious crash during her World Cup training in Lake Louise in December 2010, Chemmy sustained a double fracture in her right leg and had to take the entire 2011 season off. It could have been a career-ending injury but she looks at the time off as an important break: "A couple of weeks after the crash I was joking and laughing. People couldn't understand and thought I didn't take my sport seriously - that I'd just got over it, but I hadn't. It happened and I had to deal with it so I'm using it as an opportunity. My trainers couldn't touch my leg for the first six months, so we dealt with all the other niggles around my body that had been detrimental to my skiing. It also taught me how much I love skiing because a lot of people used to think I only skied because my mum Eve (who passed away unexpectedly in 2006) made me do it. I realised I ski for myself. You don't do a sport as dangerous as this for anyone else."
After the crash, Chemmy revealed to reporters that her last memory before the accident was seeing the thong of the competitor in front of her. But she's quick to point out this was not the cause: "I've had a lot of years to fine tune what my best mental approach to racing is, and it's to be really chilled and even distracted because I'm a good natural skier. It's when I over think things that I end up being slow so I try to be relaxed and funny in the gate. An Italian girl in front of me had a thong on that I could see through her lycra trousers. I looked at my trainer and sung 'Thong, tha thong, thong thong' and that's the last thing I remember. Poor girl, she found this out when I said it in an interview and wrote me a really long email saying 'I'm so sorry you crashed. Was it my fault because of the underwear? It was the last day of camp and the only thing I had.' But it was fine, it wasn't her fault. In our sport we race against the mountain and not against each other. It's not a combat sport. If someone beats me I congratulate them and respect them for it."
She also spoke about how scary - yet amazing - racing can be: "Jumping is the thing I've had a lot issues with throughout the years - I broke my back when I was younger (after a jump). It does feel quite unnatural to me but when you get it right, there's nothing like slicing through the air and looking at the ground from above going 70 mph. You feel invincible."
She's even addicted to that adrenaline rush when she goes on hols: "I need my two week break in Maui every year, but I don't just lay in the sun. I'm a cliff jumper, a surfer. I don't switch off." And she definitely takes that spirited attitude home with her: "I would say 60% of mine and my boyfriend Dougie's (Crawford, British number one male downhill skier) relationship thrives on competition. We race on the hill, we race off the hill. It's hard to draw a line. We end up competing about who can eat their dinner the fastest!"
But when it's time to glam up for red carpet events, Chemmy sticks with what she knows: "I have one pair of high heels that I've worn to events for the last six years. I've had them patched up about ten times and some of the photographers on the red carpet know me so well that they always comment on my gross brown wedges. But they're comfy and that's most important. I like the height of heels, but they're so uncomfortable. If only I'd known how well these would have worked out, I would have bought loads of pairs!"
And, of course, with the Olympics around the corner we had to ask how about the Games: "I train with the Canadian ski team in the summer, so obviously they're less excited about the London Olympics than I am! I can't be a princess and say 'I'll ski with you next summer but I want to be home for the London Games!' But I do really want to be here for part of it because I'm a local girl and I'll never be able to compete in my capital. It's going to be phenomenal."
To read more from Chemmy, pick up the February issue, out 12 January!
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