Simon Dumont likes to think about winter, and cold, and gold.

He dreams of representing the United States in the Sochi Winter Olympics next February and winning a gold medal in half-pipe skiing.

But for now he’s rooted in reality. And that means heat, hard work, and a summer of recovery and rehabilitation from a broken right ankle.

Dumont, the Bethel native and Telstar High graduate, was training in Mammoth, Calif., last month when he broke an ankle while practicing one of his signature moves, a Dub 12, into a large air-filled plastic bag.

According to his Twitter account, “I landed on my feet they stuck and my upper body kept going.”

If he had landed in snow, Dumont said, “I would have skied away no problem.” But there was no give in the hard plastic bag. Dr. Drew Cooper, the U.S. freestyle ski team doctor, said Dumont suffered a “fracture dislocation” of the right ankle, which also included tearing of the ligaments.

Dumont, who turns 27 on July 9, said he now has plates and screws in his ankle, and is using crutches to move around. His training is limited to physical therapy and about four hours a day of upper body and cardio workouts in the gym.

But neither he nor anyone involved with the U.S. freestyle ski team feel that his injury will cost him a shot at the Olympics.

“He may miss some training but he should be back strong and ready to go,” said Cooper. “I would have high expectations for him. He’ll have no limitations (when he returns to skiing).”

Dumont is considered one of the best half-pipe skiers in the world and looked to have a strong chance to earn one of the 26 freestyle skiing slots for the Sochi Games, which open on Feb. 7, 2014. The Olympic skiers will be selected based on World Cup standings in events leading to the Olympics.

Cooper said Dumont is on schedule to make those qualifying events.

“Six or so weeks from now he should be able to get back on snow,” said Cooper.

“The timeline looks fine,” said Dumont, during a break in a public relations tour of New York City for one of his main sponsors, Target.

“This puts a hindrance on some training and some of the ideas I wanted to bring to the Olympics. But nobody said it would be easy. It’s another battle. I think it’s more mental than physical but I think it will all come together.”

Mike Jankowski, the coach of the U.S. freestyle ski team, isn’t worried.

“Obviously any time you’re out of the game with an injury it’s going to be a challenge,” said Jankowski.

“But nobody is more prepared or driven than Simon. Match that with his skill and raw talent, and he will not miss a beat. I know he will come back strong and ready.

“He shows no signs of slowing down. It’s a challenge that he’s looking forward to.”

Jankowski called Dumont “pretty much a legend in freestyle. He’s done so much for the sport in his career.”

Despite injuries that have included a torn ACL and two broken wrists, Dumont has won 10 X Games medals in the half-pipe, including two golds.

He was in California training with his teammates when he tried to perform a Dub 12. “It’s the same trick I’ve started the half-pipe with the last three years,” said Dumont. “I’ve done it a million times.”

But this time the bag he landed on was too hard and his ankle snapped.

Initially Dumont was upset, especially with the timing of the injury. Now he’s looking ahead.

“There’s no perfect way, it’s not a perfect world,” he said. “Things happen, and you’ve got to be positive and move forward. Things happen for a reason and I hope I come back mentally and physically stronger.

“It would be a fairy-tale ending if I can go to the Olympics and put that gold medal over my head for me and my country.”

 

Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or at:

mlowe@pressherald.com

Twitter: MikeLowePPH