The Australian Contingent

Brett Wilhelm/ESPN

Anna Segal didn't compete at X Games Aspen this year, but she will be competing in slopestyle in Sochi.

Australia's Anna Segal couldn't be more excited for the Olympics, where she'll be competing in ski slopestyle's Olympic debut on Feb. 11. Segal is already qualified for her home country of Australia thanks to her results from last season's World Cup. She's still rebounding from a knee injury she sustained last season, but she says she's feeling strong and ready. We caught up with the soon-to-be college graduate about the Olympics and beyond. Last season you suffered a knee injury, but you are now back on snow. Can you walk us through what happened?
Anna Segal: I was in Silvaplana, Switzerland, for the second World Cup of last season. It's a beautiful area of the world. The last feature of the slopestyle course was a butter box with a poppy jump off the end to a flat landing. I avoided hitting it as much as I could, but it was part of the course I had to hit it for the contest. I did a simple straight air off it, landed on the icy flat, then felt a searing sensation in my knee. I did my final run in a lot of pain but managed to finish third. Two weeks later, I was on the operating table and was informed that I'd chipped off a large piece of articular cartilage in my knee and torn my meniscus.

How was knee rehabilitation? How is your knee feeling now?
To tell you the truth, rehab was far tougher than I expected. I've had three other major knee surgeries, but this has been the most frustrating. I thought it would only be a few months before I would be back on snow. I found out that rehab would take a lot longer than I first anticipated. My knee was constantly swelling, which made it a struggle. The bright side was that I got some summer. At the end of March I moved up to the northern beaches of Sydney, where the Australian team trainer is based. I'd have between two to three sessions a day, six days a week. In between that I'd fit in a fun surf if the waves were good. I was literally training, eating, icing, then sleeping. It's the hardest I've ever worked but I wanted to get back to the ski life as soon as possible.

Joshua Duplechian/ESPN

Segal will be representing her home country of Australia at this Winter Olympic Games.

Have you seen the sketches for the slopestyle course in Sochi? What are your thoughts on the course?
I have seen the sketches. I actually think it's a shame that they released them so early. IOC politics aside, the sketches of the course look great. There is heaps of variety in the rail section, which will be great for creativity. The jumps also look nice and lofty, with a smaller side in case the weather doesn't cooperate.

You are nearly finished with your college degree. What are you studying and do you have a plan post degree?
Nearly being the operative word here. I've been chipping away at that degree since I left school. It was supposed to be done in four and a half years, then skiing got in the way. My university gave me the ultimatum that I finish it by mid 2015 or I'll be thrown out. So I have to head back to Melbourne in March to get it done. I am from quite an academic family and a lot of emphasis has been placed on education. I also really love learning, but the first couple months sitting still in a lecture theater are going to be hard for me. I'm doing a double degree in arts and commerce. I'm planning to juggle skiing while I finish off at university, then afterward, I'm not exactly sure. I'll see what opportunities open up for me. I want to stay in the action sports industry as I love the people and the lifestyle.

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