- Written by Carrie Anton
An AWSOME performance by this dynamic duo! Viviane Forest a visually impaired athlete and sighted guide Lindsay Debou could not be stopped!
After the first day's delay for 3 hours and then final cancellation the entire alpine-ski schedule was changed. The races got under way the next day with the Slalom. I was wet, happy, and very proud. In BC we had media coverage that showed daily video recaps which I am sorry to say was not always the case outside of the province I heard.
Viviane re-pulled a groin injury suffered 2 weeks prior at a training camp which is a very serious injury to an alpine ski racer because the inner thigh muscles are constantly activated when turning either direction. I wouldn't want to race down a hill on my 2 feet, at 100 km/hr willing my muscle to be strong enough to make it down the hill. The ruts and jolts of a race course are unpredictable to a visually impaired skier. In that GS Vi fought with her arms to go back up the hill to pass a gate she almost missed. If you would have seen on the jumbo screen the way her upper body was dragging her lower injured body up the hill and then skied down to finish 4th for that run. They had some serious speed in that run leading at each interval time before that gate. Between the races Vi was treated by the medical team back at her hotel at the bottom of the hill.
Viviane and Lindsay communicate with 2-way radios. On the video you can hear Lindsay yelling for Vi to fight and fight. Vi screamed back in pain each time she had to put any weight to turn on that injured leg. I felt sick just hearing their screams of pain, desperation, fighting, and totally fatiguing with Vi's collapse at the finish line of the GS.
The Downhill race has the most speed and danger. Viviane earned a Gold she was fighting for. Her goals going into the Paralympic Games were 2 fold - podium in each race, and win at least one gold medal. Viviane and Lindsay lead the Downhill from the beginning. They patiently waited at the bottom of the race with the rest of us to see if they would be dethroned. It never happened and despite her injury Viviane became the first visually impaired Paralympian to win Gold in both Winter and Summer Games. There are a lot of firsts being claimed with their gold win and stats are still being crunched to see which first it is. But the accomplishment still stands as amazing and truly inspiring!
Vi did crash into the fence after the Downhill race because she couldn't put weight on that injured leg to stop herself at over 100 km/hr. Viviane has a concussion, wrist/thumb in a cast, and the groin injury leaves her really limping. All in all she is still smiling and very proud of her accomplishments.
The final medal tally for this duo is:
- GOLD - Downhill (DH)
- SILVER - Slalom (SL)
- SILVER - Super G (SG)
- SILVER - Super Combined - Slalom & GS (SC)
- BRONZE - Giant Slalom (GS)
Each run had its own character, conditions, and circumstances. Viviane was injured throughout and is the strongest person that I know, mentally and physically.
Lindsay guided her safely, successfully, and with the tough love Viviane wanted to get to the finish line.
Fantastic and Impressive wins in all five races! Being a spectator was the best experience I've had only beside our Paralympic Gold in Sydney with Viviane on my team. I am so proud. I enjoyed myself and know that when Vi steps back out onto the slopes after her rest and repair she will rock!