Snowboarder Katie Ormerod admitted she had never felt pain like it after breaking her heel clean in two – but has vowed to realise her Olympic dream in 202
Brighouse’s Ormerod was one of Britain’s brightest medal hopes coming into PyeongChang but, after falling twice in training, she was cruelly denied a debut Games appearance.
The 20-year-old underwent emergency surgery at Seoul National University Hospital where her right heel was pinned together.
That followed advice from UK-based consultant, foot and ankle surgeon James Calder, who has previously operated on the likes of Gareth Bale.
“As soon as I did it, I instantly knew I was really hurt, the pain was excruciating,” said Ormerod.
“I tried to move out of the way of the other snowboarders but I just couldn’t and had to shout for help.
“I didn’t even think it was possible to break your heel like that, it’s one of the hardest bones in the body. They’ve never seen an injury like that before in snowboarding.
“The hardest bit was having to pull my boot off though because they cut it off and it was just agony. It took them one or two hours to get it off. They got scissors and they had to cut as much of the boot off as they could.
“They got scissors and they had to cut as much of the boot off as they could. There was still a little bit that they had to slide off and eventually they just pulled it off me and it was agony. I was screaming in pain, it was awful.”
The Brit was due to compete in the slopestyle and big air competitions in PyeongChang but will instead be cheering on her teammates from the comfort of her own home in Yorkshire after flying back on Friday.
She is expected to spend the next six weeks on crutches followed by three months of intense rehab with a view to return to the slopes in the summer.
The setback adds to a long list of injuries already suffered by the young athlete – including a badly damaged anterior cruciate knee ligament and a broken back – but she vowed to return strongly once again.
“I’ve wanted to be an Olympian since I can remember,” she said.
“This was always my biggest dream, so to finally qualify was the best thing in world. Words cannot describe how gutted I was and how awful I felt.
“Once I start my rehab and get back on my board. If I carry on as I have done I should be fine qualifying for 2022 and hopefully I can still be up there in medal contention.”
PLEASE LEAVE IN FINAL PAR - Don’t miss a moment of the Olympic Winter Games on Eurosport and Eurosport Player. Go to www.eurosport.co.uk