Czech-born Canadian speed skier Jan Hudec, a bronze medalist in super G at the 2014 Sochi Olympic Winter Games, had his high hopes for the 2015 World Championships dashed after suffering a bone bruise and meniscus damage last December while racing the downhill in Val Gardena.
Hudec underwent arthroscopic surgery a little more than a month after sustaining the injury and missed the remainder of the 2014-15 competition season.
“I had to step back to make the right choice,” Hudec said at the time of his surgery in January. “I tried to put everything into perspective, where the season is currently at, in addition to the fact that I want to continue skiing. I am not done racing, I don’t want this to be my last year. I made this decision, looking long-term and what is in the best interest for myself, my body and next season.”
The first Canadian Olympic men’s medalist in alpine skiing in 20 years is finally rehabilitated and feeling strong enough to make plans for his return to snow. Alpine Canada Alpine caught up with the Panda on the eve of his departure for South America.
Alpine Canada Alpine: What’s your favorite off-season vacation spot?
Jan Hudec: I like Cuba and pretty much anywhere hot that has a great beach. For me, the ultimate vacation is a road trip with my friends, heading somewhere new. Every time I get in my Audi it’s an opportunity to go on a new adventure.
ACA: What’s your favorite summer activity?
JH: I like to play golf and tennis but motor biking is my passion. I try (to) do it as much as possible in the summer.
ACA: What’s the first thing you do when you get home after the season?
JH: Sleep. I go several days without getting out of bed.
ACA: Where in the world are you headed to next to chase the snow?
JH: I’m heading to Portillo, Chile. It’s rad, really such a cool place to ski. We are flying down Aug. 29 and will be training for two weeks.
ACA: Is there anywhere that you’d love to ski but haven’t been yet?
JH: Japan, to free ride.
ACA: What is your favourite cross-training sport?
JH: Motor biking doesn’t seem like a cross-training sport but it is. Motor cross is really good for speed and line adjustments since it’s very similar to skiing. The g-forces are also similar.
ACA: What’s your biggest fear?
ACA: Who is your favourite sports icon?
JH: Eric Liddell – the “Flying Scotsman”.
ACA: Do you have nickname on the team?
JH: Panda or Hanzo.
ACA: What’s your favourite pump-up song?
JH: You can’t just have one good song, but my pump up fight song is “Shine Down” by Sound of Madness.
ACA: Where do you keep your Sochi bronze medal?
JH: On my kitchen table. For the first couple months after the Games I carried it everywhere but now I keep it in one spot.
ACA: Do you have any superstitions?
JH: Nope, no superstitions.
ACA: What is the first song that comes up on shuffle on your iPod?
JH: Milencollin – “Life on a Plate”.
Interview courtesy of ACA