Camplin gets her prize

24 February 2006

Courageous Australian aerial skier Alisa Camplin has received her bronze medal at the medal plaza, 24 hours after pulling off one of the Winter Olympics bravest performances.

And while it was bronze rather than the gold she won four years ago, the impact was equally strong.

“It was so excellent,” a beaming Camplin said. “I have such small memories of Salt Lake City, I just wanted to soak it all up. It wasn’t my national anthem, but I was so proud to be standing up there.”

Camplin paid tribute to those that had supported her through the tough times.

“There were lots of special people here to support me,” she said.

“Having this medal ceremony is incredibly important for the athletes. You go through a reflection period for 24 hours then you come back and experience it all again.”

Camplin’s presence at the Torino Games was a miracle in itself. She had major knee surgery only four months ago and was not thought to be a medal contender by many ahead of the Games.

She hurt herself on a water jump in Lake Placid in October 2005. Her only chance of defending her Olympic gold medal won in Salt Lake in 2002 was to undergo allograft surgery, where she received a donor tendon.

By Christmas she was back on the snow. She competed in her first World Cup event in early January and then needed a top six finish in the next World Cup event to claim a place in the Australian Olympic Team.

At the time team Doctor Peter Braun said landing jumps in Olympic competition was a major gamble.

“I think a medal is probably unrealistic,” he said before the Games.

But Camplin came to Torino with a plan.

“First up I needed to make the team, now I need to qualify for the final and then anything can happen” she said upon arriving in Torino.

All was going to plan with Camplin in 4th place after the first round of last night’s final. Her second jump was sweeter than the first and a crash from the final Chinese athlete earned her a place on the podium and a second Olympic medal.

The 31-year-old Camplin is the first Australian to win medals at consecutive Winter Olympics. She joins Steve Bradbury as Australia’s most successful Winter Olympians, with a gold and bronze medal.

AOC

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