Steve Omischl got his ticket punched yesterday for the 2010 Winter Olympics and he’s going to walk the red carpet at the Junos this weekend, but the Canadian aerials ace isn’t exactly flying high at the moment.
As a matter of fact, he’s grounded.
Omischl was one of three freestyle skiing athletes presented Thursday at a news conference in Vancouver as having qualified for the 2010 Winter Games based on performance this season — moguls skier Jenn Heil and Ashley McIvor, in the new sport of ski cross, were the others.
Omischl remains at the top of his game heading towards the big show, having won his third Crystal Globe this season as the overall World Cup aerials champion and capturing a silver medal at the world championships.
But the Canadian freestyle team is in Vancouver this week participating in a “home-field advantage camp” at Cypress Mountain — and Omischl is there as a spectator only.
His right hip is giving him problems. A specialist told him after an examination on Thursday it’s likely some inflammation in the joint, the result of another season and some 10 years of impact.
“I don’t think it’s anything major,” said Omischl. “I think the season caught up with me … I’ve got hips like a 10-year-old golden retriever.”
Still, this is a guy with a strong work ethic who doesn’t like to miss training, particularly on the Olympic hill.
“I’ve just watched my teammates jump on the Olympic site while I’ve been miserable,” said Omischl.
“That’s been bumming me out.”
Omischl is one of several Canadian Olympians who will attend the Juno Awards in Vancouver this weekend. CTV, looking to do some cross promotion, has recruited a number of athletes to walk the red carpet and will have speedskater Jeremy Wotherspoon and skeleton racer Mellisa Hollingsworth as presenters.
Omischl, wary of getting caught up in the pre-Olympic hype, reckons it’s one of the few perks he will take advantage of leading up to the Games.
“I can tell you right now I’m not going to be doing many of these things,” he said.
“The Junos is a cool honour to (attend) and if it was anywhere close to next season or during an important training time, there’s no way you’d catch me doing it.”