A young skier from Halifax is on the verge of competing in the Winter Olympics just over a year after a potentially career-threatening injury.
Tyler Harding, 16, from Sowerby Bridge, injured his anterior cruciate ligament during a tournament in Switzerland in March last year.
But the freestyle skier is now just one top 20 finish away from qualifying for the Winter Olympics in Russia next February, which would make him the youngest freestyle skier ever to compete in the Olympics.
He said: “It’d be such a big achievement because of the setback of getting injured.
“In the middle of trampolining practice when I was trying out my spins, my foot folded underneath me.
“The physio strapped me up and sent me out to compete and I managed to win my age category.
“I actually won three competitions with the injury, so when I found out what I’d done I was gobsmacked.
“I couldn’t believe it - I had to do lots of physio and gym work.
“The hardest thing was that I couldn’t ski. It took six months but it felt like six years. But I knew that I’d be back.”
Tyler’s mum Gill took out a £5,000 loan to pay for her son’s surgery.
She said: “It had to be done - it’s his career. If we’d had it done on the NHS, we’d have had to wait until he was 17, which was unthinkable.
“But it means the money we’d have used to fund his bid for the Olympics was spent on the surgery, so we need sponsorship so he can compete in the next four competitions in Argentina, New Zealand and two in the USA, to get the result required for the Olympics.
“It’s been his life since he was five-years-old.
“He couldn’t imagine not being able to try and get the points to get there.”