Speedskater makes second Olympics after gruesome injury

Olympic speedskater Kelly Gunther practices on the ice at the Utah Olympic Oval.


DETROIT (WOOD) — After a 2010 crash gruesomely damaged her ankle, doctors feared Olympic speedskater Kelly Gunther might be facing amputation.

The injury shattered bones in her ankle and put her career in jeopardy. But, Gunther didn’t let the grim prognosis affect her expectations.

“I knew I wasn’t done, I knew I wasn’t going to let it defeat me and finish me,” she said. “I knew I was still young and had a long road ahead of me.”

The 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang will mark the second time she has qualified for the Olympic Games. Gunther finished fourth in the 1,000 meters in 2014 in Socchi, motivating her to get back one more time, determined to win a medal.

Photo: Olympic speedskater Kelly Gunther lifts weights ahead of the Winter Olympics in North Korea.

“I think about it every night, every day, every training session,” Gunther said.

That drive is propelling Gunther toward the finish line of her career, racing closer each time she laces up her skates.

Kelly Gunther
Photo: Olympic speedskater Kelly Gunther takes a break during practice at the Utah Olympic Oval.

“There’s so many lasts: last month, last training practice,” she said.

Gunther also hasn’t forgotten about her injury and how fortunate she is to make the recovery she has.

“When I’m having a bad day, I think about it and how I came back from it,” Gunther said. “Now that I’m having different injuries, I’m like, ‘Well my foot was hanging off, I should be fine.’”