Erik Guay undergoes complete overhaul heading to 2014
The thing is the Canadian ski star barely made it to the start gate last year’s world championships in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, because of his wonky back. He had to nurse it, skipping three weeks of racing at one point, but still pulled off a stunning victory.
Guay realized he couldn’t keep functioning that way if he wanted to make it to the 2014 Sochi Olympics – he’s been agonizingly close to the podium at the last two Winter Games.
“If I wanted to make it that far, I had to take sort of a step back and maybe sacrifice part of a season so I could take a couple of steps forward,” said Guay.
It’s not dissimilar to the situation Olympic moguls champion Jenn Heil found herself, when she took a year off to rebuild her body leading to the 2010 Vancouver Games.
In fact, Guay is working with the same crew who guided Heil in Montreal, former Canadiens’ trainer Scotty Livingston, osteopath Dave Campbell and Paolo Saldhana, who has his master’s degree in exercise physiology and founded the PowerWatts training system. He’s also in the fold of the B2ten athlete support group that Heil helped develop.
“She really had faith in their system and trusted it and it paid off big dividends in the end,” said Guay, who often sees the now retired Heil in the gym. “That’s kind of what I’m going to do now. It’s tough. You always want results you don’t want to sacrifice a year. I’m not sacrificing a year, I’m trying to do the right thing so my career lasts longer and I last until 2014.”
Guay does admit to being anxious about how he’ll fare in the short term. He took two months off training just to give his body a chance to rest in the spring and he’s dropped about 15 pounds in muscle. He brought his father Conrad, a veteran ski coach, with him to training camp to get some extra one-on-one schooling.
“I think I might be lacking on the power side,” he said. “But that wasn’t the goal for the summer. It was to make sure my back starts moving properly and I start using my whole body properly and to try to maintain that during the season. Power, I can starting building on that next summer and the year after. I don’t how it will feel in a race, but doing those easier training runs the body did feel quite a bit better.”
Bobsleigh News: Jesse Lumsden is putting his driving plans on hold until the end of the season to join Olympic bronze medalist Lyndon Rush’s sled. “Jesse is a team guy that fits into this group of athletes,” said Rush. Meanwhile, Olympic silver medalist Helen Upperton has decided to concentrate excluslively on racing in North America to prepare for the 2012 worlds in Lake Placid.
(Photo of Erik Guay on gold medal-winning run at world champs: Ruben Sprich/Reuters)