Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: End (02/13/06)
TITLE: Olympic Finish
By Rachel Rudd
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“Uggh..,” she moaned to herself, “I’d better hurry if I’m going to beat coach to the rink.”
Every morning it was a race to see who would get to the Mallard skating rink first. Most days Coach Benson would turn up about a minute or two before her. This morning she determined to be the earliest to arrive!
Before she walked out the door she stared at her five feet-five inch frame in the mirror. Her shiny brown hair was pulled into a tight bun and her cheeks looked pale after a short night’s sleep. She smiled as she realized that tomorrow would be her free day-the only one each week! Not that she minded the difficult regiment of practice, school, more practice and some dance training thrown in the mix. She knew what her goal was and what it required. The end of all her hard work would hopefully be the Olympic gold medal she longed for…
“Oh, shoot,” she muttered aloud as she glanced at the clock. “I’m going to be late again!”
Anna grabbed her gym bag and ran out the door.
When she entered the ice cold rink, Coach Benson smiled broadly when he said, “Beat you again, didn’t I? Are you ready to get started?”
She nodded her head as she began the warm-up exercises needed to loosen her overused muscles.
After stretching all her limbs, she strapped on her skates and glided onto the ice. Coach Benson followed her.
“Anna, today, I want you to focus on the ending of your short program. You need to get your speed up on the spin and the transition to the last leg lift needs to be stronger.”
“Okay, Coach, with or without the music?”
“This morning will try without and this afternoon will add the music again.”
After an hour and a half of practice, the ending neared perfection. She knew that she was ready for the National Championships next week.
That afternoon, following a long session with her choreographer, Anna returned to the rink.
“Coach, can we work on the double axel jump?” she asked. “I’m a bit nervous about the landing.”
“Yes,” Coach Benson replied, “but I also want to see both programs skated through before practice is over, okay?”
“Sure thing, Coach.”
Her warm-up time did not last as long as the morning and she was soon on the ice.
As she prepared to practice her most difficult jump, she mentally rehearsed each step.
“Alright,” Coach called after her. “Let’s see the axel and remember to pull your legs in as tight in as possible.”
Anna lined herself up for the jump and pushed off with her left foot. Her graceful figure soared into the air until the pull of gravity brought her down to land. She put out her right foot to bear the impact of the landing, but the edge of her skate caught the ice at a bizarre angle. As she felt herself smashing into the ice, Anna heard what sounded like a tree cracking and its fibers breaking. The pain she felt as the freezing ice pushed into her face was minute compared to the excruciating agony that ran up her leg.
Coach Benson was beside her in an instant and yelling for someone to call for an ambulance. “Anna, don’t move anything. Lay perfectly still.”
“Sure thing, Coach,” She mumbled as the pain knocked her into a sweet unconsciousness.
When Anna awoke, her mom, Coach, and a strange doctor stood gazing down at her. Her first question surprised the doctor.
“When will I be able to skate again?”
The look of sadness reflected in the doctor’s eyes terrified her.
“Well,” he began slowly, “Anna, your kneecap has been torn out of place, you have triple break in your lower leg, and your ankle has been torn completely out of alignment. It will be a long time before you will be healed enough to wa…”
“But, doctor,” Anna interrupted, “I want to know when I will be able to skate again. Give me a time limit.”
“Anna, I’m sorry to say this…but with this severe of an injury. I don’t see how your leg will ever be strong enough to bear the impact of your skating routines. I’m very sorry it has to end this way.”
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