Injured women's snowboard champion confident of Olympics' appearance

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Vancouver, Feb 6 (IANS) Nine days after undergoing surgery for a compound fracture of her left forearm after crashing during practice, reigning Olympic women's snowboard cross champion Maelle Ricker said she is aiming for "the race of my life" at the Sochi Winter Games to defend her crown.

Speaking to the media via a conference call from her hometown in Vancouver Wednesday, Ricker, the reigning women's snowboard cross world champion, said she broke her radius after sticking out her arm to break a fall Jan 28 in Aspen, Colorado. She elected to have surgery later that day and said the arm was healing well, reports Xinhua.

The 35-year-old Canadian will travel to Russia Saturday in preparation for her Feb 16 race.

"It sounds crazy but it's helped me. I've obviously been really excited about the Games and the build-up and the training and all the traveling leading up to the Games I've absolutely loved, but this is almost like there is this burning desire and it's almost like somebody's doused a bunch of gasoline on the fire, so I'm pretty ready to go," Ricker said.

"I can feel the adrenaline and I can feel the excitement of going over to Russia, so I'm actually just going to use that as a positive and use that for motivation to just get me through these couple of weeks and hopefully have the race of my life."

Ricker, who will wear a splint during the Games, said she had been home for a week doing on-land training, physio and getting more range in the arm as the swelling subsided. While she has broken numerous bones during her career, she admitted she had never raced with such a "fresh" injury before.

She added there was never a doubt that she wouldn't be at the Olympics to defend her title.

"I spent a lot of time on snow in January already and I had absolutely amazing training leading up to the crash, so I have every confidence that when I do get back on snow it will be fine."