Had it not been for an absurd sequence of rotten luck, American skier Tommy Biesemeyer would have long since made his Olympic debut. He would have made it four years ago in Sochi. Or at the very least, he would have made it Sunday in PyeongChang, the original date for the men’s downhill event at the 2018 Winter Games.
Instead, Biesemeyer, within touching distance of his dream, is heartbroken. That dream was dashed by a gut-wrenching training injury on Wednesday, one day before his first competitive run down an Olympic slope.
The ankle injury forced Biesemeyer to withdraw from Thursday’s race, and you could feel the heartbreak seeping out of his words. “I wonder why this happens,” the 29-year-old said in a statement. “It is hard to not think if there is a deeper meaning to it all. You are supposed to be optimistic in times like these and say something like, ‘I will come back stronger than ever.’ But I just can’t bring myself to do it.”
He’s understandably bereft. Because it’s the third time Biesemeyer has had the Olympics ripped away from him. He was injured in the buildup to the 2010 Games. He was then seemingly on track for the 2014 Games, but tore his ACL, MCL, lateral meniscus and medial meniscus during a World Cup event.
That injury – just one of many in a career that has also included back surgery, shoulder surgery and a broken jaw – required two years of recovery, and is still the source of pain four years later. But it didn’t stop Biesemeyer from getting to PyeongChang.
And once he got there, finally in the clear, ready for his debut, he spoke with pride. “To be here in Korea, it’s rewarding and a huge relief,” he said last week. “It’s been something that I had wanted for a long time.”
When he woke up Sunday morning, he was closer to Olympic competition than ever. Hours away. But nobody ever made it up to the Jeongseon Alpine Centre. The men’s downhill, for which Biesemeyer was in the U.S. lineup, was postponed, and rescheduled for Thursday.
On Wednesday, Biesemeyer injured his ankle. He was taken to a local clinic to be treated. He was released, but ruled out for the rest of the Games. Agonizing.
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