Finally off crutches after his painful exit from the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, freeskier Byron Wells is already thinking about the next Games in four years.
The Wanaka 26-year-old was eyeing up an Olympic medal before his campaign was abruptly brought to a halt and his troubles didn’t finish there.
Three months ago, Byron Wells shattered both his knee and his medal hopes, when he crashed in training just before the half-pipe finals.
Just 24 hours earlier, he was elated to qualifying fourth, with a podium finish clearly in his sights.
“That qualifying day is the day I’m holding onto in my memory from the Olympics,” Wells told Newshub. “It was just one of my favourite days skiing.”
But his rehabilitation since has been far from favourable.
“About four weeks after I got home, I had a dog run between me and my crutch, and I did a quick step on my leg. It swelled up, and it broke the scar back open and it started bleeding.”
He was then forced to return to Auckland to undergo further surgery.
“I got a CT scan and found out the bones had displaced again by 8mm, so they took out all the old hardware the Koreans had put in and put in a whole lot of new stuff to make it hold together better.”
He’ll be taking the rest of the year off to fully recover, but Beijing 2022 is still in his sights, even though both Pyeongchang and Sochi resulted in competition-ending injuries.
“They say third time’s a charm, don’t they?” said Wells. “The Olympics and me seem to not have a good relationship, but I got so excited about the qualifying that I really want to feel that again.
In the meantime, it’s literally one step at a time.