CARRABASSETT VALLEY – No, Lindsey Kildow hasn’t seen the video of her crash at the Winter Olympics.

She thinks she’s probably taken worse tumbles on the slopes, but, somewhat to her chagrin, she also knows that it’s what she’s remembered for.

The 21-year-old would rather be remembered for her four career World Cup victories, including the three she picked up this season. She’d have preferred to make headlines for winning Olympic gold medals instead of for her remarkable comeback from the spectacular mishap that hospitalized her on the second day of training in the women’s downhill at Turin.

But she also knows that, in some ways, bad news was better than no news.

“It was a shame that I couldn’t have gotten recognition for my accomplishments,” she said. “It was still nice that people recognized the effort that I’ve put in the last four years, my whole life, really.”

Kildow earned that recognition when she got out of her hospital bed to return to the slopes the next day and finished eighth. She ended up missing just one of five events at the Olympics, and posted two top-10 finishes.

Her fellow Americans were so impressed by her courage that they tabbed her for the Olympic Spirit award.

“That was really a big honor for me, because I hadn’t won a medal,” she said. “Just to know that people were behind me in the United States was really heartwarming.”

She took a week off from competition after the Olympics to recover more thoroughly from her injuries, and it paid off. On March 3, she was part of the first ever three-way tie for first place in the women’s World Cup super-G in Norway.

“After my back started feeling better, I just started skiing the way I was before. It showed the first speed race I had, I won. I just wonder if I could have had that (at the Olympics),” Kildow said.

It was a bittersweet climax to a bittersweet winter for the Minnesota native.

“I had three wins and six podiums this season, so I have to be pretty happy with that,” she said. “It’s definitely positive. The Olympics were kind of what put a negative spin on it for me. I just have to look at the positives for next year, though, and focus on the World Championships and more World Cup podiums.”

A strong performance at the U.S. Alpine Championships at Sugarloaf, which continue today with the downhill championships, would help put a more positive spin on the season.

Her back is doing better, but still bothers her, she said, particularly when she’s not moving around. The two-day journey back to the States from Sweden was especially tough.

“I’m pretty jet-lagged,” she said with a laugh, “but I haven’t been back in the U.S. since December. So I’m happy to be back. American food and American people.”


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