Chemmy Alcott calls time on her ‘role as a ski racer.’ A personal look back

Chemmy Alcott after her second training run in Sochi - COPYRIGHT ZOOM AGENCE (Alt)
Chemmy Alcott after her second training run in Sochi - COPYRIGHT ZOOM AGENCE

“Now is my time,” Chemmy Alcott explained as to why she has decided to call it a day as a ski racer. … The last two years have been extremely hard on Alcott and she has taken the decision to call it a day as a ski racer. Chemmy has gone out on a high with a 19th place in the Olympics. Considering that she had broken her leg the summer before and her first race back was a 91st in a Europa Cup, this was, as she explained on her own website (www.chammyalcott.com) a fantastic turnaround.

Racer Ready started out as a business in 2000 and one of the first racers that I interviewed was Chemmy. It was early December 2000 and the Premier Neige in Val d’Isere had been run and I was on my way to kill some time before the next race. I was hungry and so stopped at the McDonalds in Alberville for a bite to eat. Inside I saw an old friend from my own ski racing days, Chris Knight, and he had a young girl he was coaching. I did not know her but this girl would play a major part in the magazine. It was Chemmy Alcott and after talking to Chris for ten minutes I was introduced to Chemmy. For the next three quarters of an hour, I scribbled, chatted, reminisced and by the end had decided to go to Chamonix to watch the Europa Cup that she would race in along with Emma Carrick-Anderson, the number female at the time on the GB team, albeit a slalom specialist.

From there, I kept a close eye on Chemmy and was at Innsbruck the day she scored her first World Cup points in 2003 for 27th. She came down through the finish and into the athletes area and could not understand what the fuss was: There was this British guy screaming with delight at her and shouting well done! Her reply was “Is it true?” Chemmy put her heart and soul into the racing and was rewarded that day with her first World Cup points.

Chemmy went on to score points in 82 races (Saalbach Hinterglemm Combined was officially her first result but the Super G in Innsbruck was her first discipline points). In Reiteralm in 2006 she placed a fantastic 7th, her career best result on the World Cup and in Solden at the opening race of the 2008 – 2009 Season she placed 10th in the Giant Slalom.

That day was memorable. Chemmy explained after the race that she had been sitting in the car almost ready to go down the hill when she and her coach, Mark Tilston, realized that she had made the flip and would be going third on the second run. With nothing to lose and a get out of jail card, Chemmy put her all into the run and was rewarded with the fastest time on the second run (joint with race winner Kathrin Zettel) as she powered up the results list to tenth overall. Over the course of her career she made five top ten results.

The Olympic Games saw Chemmy take part in four Olympics with 11th in the Super Combined in Sestriere and Downhill in Vancouver being the best results. Had the weather not upset her run in Sestriere in the Downhill, there is no doubt in my mind that she would have been higher up the list than the 11th she was credited with.  The fact she even made it to Sochi after the injuries from the last few years was testament to her determination and dedication, something a lot of the young racers could learn from.

When Chemmy was told that funding would not be available to her, she worked out how much she needed to continue racing and she went out and secured the support. She worked tirelessly to make the ends meet. Any contact that could help her was approached and she succeeded is getting the money together. The mantra “where there is a will, there is a way,” was certainly how Chemmy approached things.

For a number of years Witan supported Chemmy and the lunches that they hosted for Chemmy in May each year were always a highlight of the summer. Other supporters like Jack Wolfskin, Caxton, Ski set, Udo’s Choice and her current ski suppliers Atomic have all helped realise the final stage of her career. Watch the four minutes and twenty two seconds of video as how Chemmy announced her retirement, you can feel the pain she feels in ending her racing career.

Chemmy thank you for being you on the World Cup. You have every right to be proud of what you have achieved in ski racing. Thank you for stopping by in the finish area, even when it has not gone well in the race! Racer Ready wishes you success in all that you go on to do! See you at the British!

Picture Zoom Agence