The 26-year-old Team GB star is gearing up for her third successive Games out in Switzerland before jetting home to the UK for a family Christmas.
Having suffered three ACL injuries, Sheffield’s Summerhayes is sadly no stranger to the treatment table.
With Sochi coming soon after one of her knee reconstructions and an ankle blow disrupting preparation for PyeongChang four years ago, she is desperate for a clean bill of health heading to the Chinese capital.
“I’m feeling really good, everything has been good so far, I’m just going to try and keep it that way,” said Summerhayes is one of over 1,000 athletes who are able to train full-time, access the world’s best coaches and benefit from pioneering technology, science and medical support thanks to vital National Lottery funding.
“The past two Games I’ve been injured in the lead-up so the main thing for me right now is to stay injury-free and keep enjoying skiing. Obviously, I’d love to win a medal, but we will see what happens!”
Summerhayes came seventh in her favoured slopestyle in 2014 and 2018 but this year has two chances to make an Olympic podium with the big air discipline set to make its Games debut.
“It’s great to have another chance at a medal,” said Summerhayes, who is bidding to add to the 1,000-plus medals achieved by British athletes since the advent of National Lottery funding to elite sport in 1997.
“Big air is just crazy, the tricks the guys are doing now are just insane – I think people are going to be really impressed and blown away by it. I’m stoked, we’ve been competing in it for years, it’s in X Games, it’s nice that it’s now in the Olympics as well.
“I enjoy big air, but slopestyle is my thing and what I’ve always loved and I’ve always been a stronger slopestyle skier so If I had to choose from which I’d like a medal, it would be slopestyle but I’ll take whatever I can get!
“I’d be stoked with any medal, because we work as hard on both and I’d just be pumped to have one.”
Summerhayes’s younger sister Molly, 24, was also on Team GB in PyeongChang, competing in the half pipe but she has since swapped the ski poles for the police in a dramatic career change.
With Covid-19 still causing worldwide havoc, foreign athletes will be unable to have any travelling fans, so family support is entirely off the cards this time around.
Summerhayes said: “My mum, dad and sister were in Sochi, they came to support and then my sister competed in PyeongChang, so it is actually going to be strange to not have a family member there.
“It is sad that she (Molly) retired, but she is crushing it and smashing life now, so I’m really stoked for her.”
Hanging up the skis at the tender age of 21 may have seemed a premature move for Molly but the sport of freestyle skiing is undoubtedly a young person’s game.
Summerhayes notes how the vast majority of her competition were born after the turn of the millennium but is hoping her slope savvy can carry her to success.
She added: “I look at the start list when we compete and there’s only a couple of us born in the 90s!
“It’s really scary and crazy, but it is good that I’ve got that experience – I’ve got a lot more compared to the other girls and I try and take that forward into everything I do.”
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