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  • Home >  2016 Olympics >  News

    Short Games prep won't hold me back: Wells

    New Zealand halfpipe skier Byron Wells expects to compete at next year's Winter Olympics despite sustaining a major knee injury in February.

    27 August 2017

    Skier Byron Wells is confident of beating the clock to avoid missing a second Winter Olympics due to injury.

    The New Zealand halfpipe star's prospects have been under a cloud since he tore his anterior cruciate ligament in February, a year out from the Games in South Korea.

    But he expects to be at full strength two months from the event if his recovery progresses as planned.

    "It's feeling really good, really strong. It's pretty amazing we're back up and able to do some turns," Wells told NZ Newswire.

    "I'll be back jumping and being able to compete in December. It'll give me a couple of months of doing my tricks and get all the training done before the Games.

    "It's pushing it close but I think it should be fine."

    Wells, 25, was set to compete at Sochi 2014 before hurting his knee at training three days from competition.

    His 2016-17 season was solid before the injury, claiming fourth at a World Cup meet in the United States before a top-20 at an Olympics test event in Pyeongchang.

    Wells has a long history of injuries, including a first ACL in 2011, and believes a lack of competition won't hold him back at the Olympics.

    "A lot of what we do, I've realised over the years having so many injuries, is muscle memory," he said,

    "It's a wonderful thing. With the tricks we do, you get in the air and once you start doing it, your brain and your body know exactly where you are."

    Wells is one of four brothers who all represent New Zealand in snow sports.

    Jossi and Beau-James competed in Sochi and have their sights set on Korea, while the youngest Jackson is on track to become an Olympian next year.

    Byron Wells watched Jackson compete in freeski slopestyle at the NZ Winter Games on Saturday, with the 19-year-old coming close to a place in the finals.

    He said Jackson is part of a crop of athletes building the country's strongest ever Winter Olympics team.

    "It's pretty unreal to see the kids coming through," he said.

    "The team's getting bigger and bigger and getting better results. It's going to be unreal."


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