The Huffington Post B.C. | Posted: 01/17/2014 1:28 pm EST | Updated: 01/25/2014 4:01 pm EST
It's been four years since Ashleigh McIvor burst onto the national stage at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, racing to gold in ski cross.
With the Sochi Winter Olympics nearing, McIvor will again be front and centre, but she won't be competing. After retiring in 2011 due to a devastating knee injury, the Whistler, B.C. native will be part of the CBC broadcast team for the Games. She'll be providing colour commentary on freestyle skiing.
McIvor become one of Canada's most recognizable athletes after Vancouver 2010. She married Vancouver Whitecap defender Jay DeMerit and has forged a thriving career as a motivational speaker. She's also been recognized in a host of "most beautiful athletes" lists.
To learn more about McIvor's upcoming television work, watch the video above.
I'm in Toronto right now with the entire #CBCOlympics crew for an Olympic Seminar - basically a giant production meeting for the upcoming Sochi Olympic broadcast. I'll be providing colour commentary for the skicross, and I'm absolutely thrilled to be involved. At the end of the day today, Scott Russell had every Olympian in the room stand up, and I realized that Chris Irwin has followed through with his original intentions of getting Olympic medallists involved for almost every single sport's coverage.
We got a sneak peek at the graphics and the features that have been pulled together for the games - they look great - and got to meet the lovely people we'll be working with, both in Russia and on the other end of whatever technology will be keeping us connected to the home base in Toronto. So nice to be part of the team!
It's so interesting to see what goes into the Olympic broadcast, and to see how the athletes are presented and portrayed by the media, for the media. We Canadian athletes really are one big team, and it's so hard to determine who is going to have success ahead of time. Even as an athlete it's impossible to know whether you will win or lose. I just hope that every single athlete goes into these Olympics treating it like the time in their life that they will eventually look back on as "that time I won the Olympics" like I did. I wrote everything down, I took lots of pictures, I did my work, and I savoured every moment, because I knew there was a chance that I would look back on the entire experience as just that: "that time I won the Olympics".
Here are some of my behind the scenes pics, and some retrospective comments about how my life has changed since 2010. I love to think of all the other athletes who's lives are about to change forever.
It was about 10 years ago now, that I received a call from my cousin's wife, Tracy, letting me know that there had been a serious accident on the mountain bike trip some friends and family members were on. She said they didn't know about my Dad. That was enough to stop my heart momentarily. I thought he was gone.
Then Tracy said that he had some tingling in his fingertips,
When he had crashed, the other guys he was riding with were ahead of him on a long downhill section. By the time they had stopped, realized he wasn't right behind them, and hiked back up to him it had been close to 30 minutes. He was laying face down in the dirt, with no feeling anywhere below his neck, his helmet the only thing allowing him to breathe the dusty air in the 1 inch of space between his mouth and the ground. He could move his tongue, and he could move his eyes, and that was it. He could hear the birds chirping, and his entire life flashed before his eyes. He thought about his girls - my sister and me. He thought it was all over.
Our family friend Kevin rode out for help, while my cousin Keith and our buddy Aaron made the incredibly tough executive decision to roll my Dad over, after deciding it was imperative that they clear his airway. They used logs to stabilize his spine, and saved his life. ... for the time being.
Kevin rode hours and hours, by himself, to Tyax lodge, where he was able to use a phone to call Search and Rescue. 6 hours after my Dad's crash, a helicopter with Pemberton's Dr. Howard in it landed in a spot the guys had cleared, and rescued my Dad.
His survival still baffles neurosurgeons and neurologists alike. He has now made a full recovery, and is back to doing what he loves - skiing and mountain biking, and spending time with his girls, when he's not busy with his lovely partner Carol, running their rapidly-growing plumbing and gas business in Whistler, Pemberton and North Vancouver.
The volunteers of Search and Rescue spend countless hours of their time training, and risking their lives to save those who get injured or lost in precarious backcountry locations. These non-profit organizations receive very little funding from the provincial government, and they are barely able to keep up with the ongoing costs of keeping their rescue equipment up to date.
Whistler Search & Rescue are hosting their annual Winemakers Dinner "Wine'd Up" this Saturday at Dusty's in Whistler. The event is sold out, but there is still time to make a contribution to the silent auction, or just straight-up donate through their website (click here). If you or people you know spend time in the mountains, please take the time to recognize the importance of this cause, and show your support.