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Ierodiaconou shifts her focus to 2010

14 March 2006

After crashing out of the Turin Winter Olympics in devastating fashion, Australian aerial skier Lydia Ierodiaconou has her sights firmly set on the 2010 Vancouver Games.

Ierodiaconou's brave bid for gold last month came unstuck when her reconstructed left knee gave way in the qualifying round.

She has since had the first of two more major knee operations and has already pencilled in the Mt Buller round of the World Cup in mid-2007 for her return to top-level competition.

The first bout of knee surgery took place last week, involving a bone graft from her hip which filled in the holes from the original graft. Once the bone is incorporated she will undergo another full reconstruction in April.

"I'm going to take my time, probably take a year off and sit the next World Cup season out," Ierodiaconou said today at a function for the Cypriot Commonwealth Games team.

"I'd be ready to jump next (northern hemisphere) winter but that would mean I hadn't trained on water for two years.

"I'd like to take my time and slowly come back."

After reaching the final of the 2002 Winter Olympics as a raw 20-year-old, Ierodiaconou shaped as a genuine gold medal hope in Turin. That was until she was forced to undergo a knee reconstruction eight months before the Games.

With the help of radical allograft surgery she made it to Turin, only for the knee to blow out while landing her second qualifying jump. "When I came out of Salt Lake City (in 2002) 2006 was my baby and I wanted to do really well there," she said.

"Then I got hurt eight months before the Games and it put all my plans in jeopardy and I couldn't do any triple somersaults.

"It was hard enough just to get back to the Games and I did everything I could and unfortunately the leg just had to hold for one extra day.

"It was just bad luck so 2010 is definitely on the cards.

"I don't want to stop until I've reached my potential and I don't think I've got anywhere near it yet.

"If I had come away with the gold from Turin and then had to have a knee reconstruction I'd be the happiest person in the world."

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