2010 & 2014 Olympian - Canada

@KelseySerwa / STATUS: SILVER - SOCHI 2014

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X GAMES CHAMPION, WORLD CHAMPION & OLYMPIC MEDALIST.  

Kelsey Serwa

Kelsey’s career in skiing came from her growing up in the shadow of Kelowna’s BIG WHITE Ski Resort where she learned how to ski.  The mountain was co-founded by her grandfather (Cliff) and it has led to her life to be greatly influenced by the alpine discipline.

As a youth she made a move up the charts of different levels in the alpine world and in 2007, she was named to the Alpine Canada Women’s National Developmental Team.  In 2009, Kelsey decided that she was going to change her focus of being a part of the alpine racing squad and gravitated towards the new Olympic discipline of ski cross.  Ski cross is considered to be the “dark side” of the ski racing circuit.

The change from the more formal alpine racing to the wild world of ski cross immediately fit her skiing style and fit her free-spirited personality as well.  In her four years of racing, she has been able to become one of the World’s best on the FIS Ski Cross World Cup circuit with 14 World Cup podiums including 7 Gold medals.  

For her, switching to Ski Cross became her path to making the Canadian Olympic Team. She raced as a proud Canadian at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics where she ultimately finished in 5th place.  Kelsey was not able to advance to the large-final where the medals were settled, but sought redemption by winning the consolation-final. It was at that moment when Kelsey decided she wanted nothing more than to win gold at the next Olympics in Sochi, 2014.

 Kelsey being interviewed by CBC Sports in Canada.

Kelsey being interviewed by CBC Sports in Canada.

During the following season in 2010-11, Kelsey showed that she would be a force for the future by not only winning the X Games Gold, improving on her Bronze finish in 2010, but by adding the title of “2011 World Champion” to her resume as well.  Unknowingly at the time, Kelsey skied to Gold at World Championships with two compression fractures in her thoracic spine.  The injury occurred only 1 week prior to World Championship at X Games where she simultaneously won the gold medal and broke her back. 

Winning the first two opening World Cup races of the 2011-12 season and leading the overall World Cup standings, 2012 was showing promise of becoming a very successful year. As fate would have it in the world of ski cross, Kelsey tore her ACL racing for gold in the final run on January 11, 2012 in Alpe D’Huez, France.  Her season was over and a long road to recovery began.  

As we see in other professional sports, everyone recovers in different fashions. Once an athlete gets back to the field of play they need to relearn the sport-specific technical and tactical skills while regaining their confidence before they can eventually letting it fly.  

For Kelsey, the 2012-13 season began in Canada. She had a tentative start, but the goal wasn’t for her to win on the first race back.  Her goal was to feel good on her skis and to feel comfortable racing down a track full of obstacles and jumps with three other unpredictable racers. Only when she felt 100% confident in her abilities and in her knee could she start to push for Gold.  In Kelsey’s case being tentative lasted all of one week as she made it to the final four at the 2nd race of the season in Telluride, USA.  By the 4th race of the FIS World Cup season she won Gold in San Candido, Italy on December 23, 2012. Less than one year after a major injury she was back on top.   

The season saw Kelsey pick up 2 Golds including the Olympic test event in Sochi as well as a Silver medal.  On the day of the 2013 World Championship Kelsey crashed during a training run and re-injured her ACL which has been surgically repaired now a second time, but this time using a cadaver inserted to fix the knee.  She is set to be back in December 2013, but with the knowledge picked up this season after her previous injury that once she is ready, she has the confidence to go full speed towards her goal of being a top the podium in Sochi at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games.

In July of 2013, Kelsey was featured in Sportsnet Magazine's "Beauty of Sport" Issue.  For a skier from Kelowna to the pages of a national magazine, the professionalism and ability to conquer another side of sport came very naturally for her. 

 Opening page of the 2013  Sportsnet - The Beauty of Sport issue

Opening page of the 2013  Sportsnet - The Beauty of Sport issue

Off the mountain, Kelsey credits her support team with a lot of her success in rehab.  She is an avid user of yoga and during her off-season takes classes at Okanagan College studying Human Kinetics.  During the course of the season, she blogs on her website whenever she can get a little Internet service in her travels.

For the 2014 Olympic run up, Kelsey took part in a print/digital editorial campaign for Hudson Bay Company a Canadian Olympic Committee partner as well as adding ZICO Coconut Water, a part of the Coca-Cola Company and COC partner that will be announced in the Fall of 2013, ZICO has continued to use Kelsey throughout 2014 for all of their year-long marketing and sales activation in a variety of categories.

Additionally, Kelsey has had a partnership with CANADIAN PACIFIC railroad for multiple seasons as her headgear partner with Alpine Canada and will continue on with her in 2014.  Canadian Pacific following the 2013-14 season dropped their partnership with Alpine Canada and all of their athletes changing their strategy related to sports sponsorships.

SOCHI 2014

- OLYMPIC SILVER MEDALIST / Ski Cross

Following the Olympics, Kelsey returned to British Columbia and has taken a part in various charitable endeavors and is now a national ambassador with the Arthritis Foundation of Canada and will take part in their Fall - Winter 2015 campaign.  She additionally has created the K-Ser bursary fund to help up and coming athletes that are not eligible to receive scholarships through normal channels.  In August 2014, she has put on her first annual golf tournament to raise funds for this in Kelowna, BC.

In September 2014, Kelsey will attend the University of British Columbia, Okanagan to pursue her college degree and will continue back to the slopes in 2015.  The life of an athlete will end at some point and Kelsey wants to make sure that she has the tools for what's next.  At the same time, taking another shot at the Olympic Gold medal drives her as well.

Back for the 2015-16 FIS World Cup season, Kelsey won a Silver medal on the last race prior to Christmas 2015 in her 3rd race back on the circuit.  On December 30, 2015, Kelsey was invited to participate in the 2016 X Games in Aspen, Colorado.  Ski Cross which had been a staple in the event has been on hiatus since 2012 but will now be back.  Kelsey won Gold in 2011 and would love to add to her medal case this year.

Kelsey and her boyfriend Stan can be seen on the water, at the beach and on the go during the summer months from BC to Costa Rica.  They reside in Whistler, BC.

 

 

The Canadian Press named her as one of the Top 10 Canadian athletes to watch for in Sochi 2/9/13.  

http://www.thestar.com/sports/2013/02/06/sochi_olympics_canadas_skiers_sliders_and_skaters_gearing_up_for_2014.html

@CBCOlympics named her as one of the Top 10 Canadian athletes to follow on Twitter in August 2013.