Jen Hudak‘s Olympic hopes were severely cut in a crash at the Dew Tour iON Mountain Championships on Wednesday.
Hudak, 27, suffered a torn meniscus and partially torn anterior cruciate ligament in her left knee in qualifying at the first of five Olympic selection events in Breckenridge, Colo. She has had five knee surgeries before, including blowing out her right knee less than two years ago.
Hudak is one of the greatest halfpipe skiers in the sport’s young history. She’s a four-time Winter X Games medalist, most recently winning gold in 2010 and ending the late Sarah Burke‘s three-year reign.
She also won World Championships silver in 2011 and bronze in 2011.
Hudak hopes to return in time for one of the final Olympic selection events in January — Jan. 6-11 at Northstar, Calif., or Jan. 15-18 at Park City, Utah.
“This wasn’t where I had planned to be at this point,” she said. “But I want to ensure that I’ve done everything possible to be a part of the dream I’ve had for over a decade. It’s important for me to set an example to others in my sport that you never give up on yourself. I’m approaching this optimistically but also understanding the realities.”
Hudak suffered a dislocated shoulder in March 2011. She then tore her right ACL, meniscus and cracked her femur in a January 2012 crash in Breckenridge, Colo., a few hours before Burke crashed in Park City. Burke went into cardiac arrest and died nine days later.