Injury ends Shannon Bahrke’s ski career a week early |

Injury ends Shannon Bahrke’s ski career a week early

Sylas Wright
Sierra Sun

Mark J. Terrill/AP PhotoShannon Bahrke of Tahoe City suffered an injury last week and will not compete in the U.S. Freestyle Championships at Squaw Valley. The two-time Olympic medalist had planned to defend her U.S. dual moguls title on Sunday at Squaw before she retired.

It’s not in Shannon Bahrke’s nature to mope about what could have been.

So when a training injury last week shattered any hopes of ending her career at the place where it all started, she brushed it off with a glass-half-full attitude.

and#8220;This is not exactly the way I envisioned the end of my career to be, but at least it didn’t happen a week before the Olympics,and#8221; said Bahrke, who had already announced she would retire after the season. and#8220;So there’s always a bright side of things.and#8221;

Last Thursday the Tahoe City native tore cartilage around her right femur when she crashed in moguls training before the World Cup finale in Spain. Bahrke said the injury isn’t serious, but it’s bad enough to require surgery and prevent her from defending her dual moguls title this weekend at the U.S. Freestyle Championships at Squaw Valley.

and#8220;It’s such a bummer. It makes me so sad,and#8221; said Bahrke, a 1998 North Tahoe High School grad and a product of the Squaw Valley Freestyle Team. and#8220;But I’m going to be out there cheering everybody on, and it’s going to be a very cool event. So I’m still going to be very much a part of it, even though I won’t be in the gates.and#8221;

Bahrke said she’s not exactly sure what went wrong on the crash landing that knocked her out of contention. But she does remember the aftermath well.

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and#8220;I really don’t know what happened. All I know is I landed the top air and went a little bit bigger than I had anticipated going, hit a mogul wrong, flew down the moguls, hit the fence and took out some girl,and#8221; she said with a laugh. and#8220;And then I was laying on the ground going, and#8216;OK, everything feels pretty good.’ But then I stood up and tried to put pressure on my right knee, and it just buckled.and#8221;

She knew the final season of her career had come to an end and#8212; about a week short of when it was supposed to. But while Bahrke had hoped to go out competing in front of her hometown fans, she said she’s satisfied with what she accomplished in a career that spanned more than a decade.

and#8220;I think the thing I’m most proud of through my whole career is coming back to fight every time,and#8221; Bahrke said, referring to her many comebacks from injury. and#8220;There were so many times when I really thought I could never come back and be as good as I used to be.

and#8220;After two knee surgeries it was like, and#8216;Is it really possible to come back and win another Olympic medal? I don’t think so.’ But I really just put that out of my mind and came back and did the best I could. So I think the perseverance and longevity of my career is what I’m most proud of.and#8221;

Bahrke, who recorded 25 World Cup podium finishes in her career, won a silver medal in moguls at the 2002 Winter Olympics and added a bronze last month at the Vancouver Games. She plans to get married to longtime boyfriend Matt Happe on 10/10/10, then help operate the couple’s small business and#8212; Silver Bean Coffee and#8212; near their home in Salt Lake City.