(by International Paralympic Committee) Para alpine skier Mollie Jepsen of Whistler, B.C. is used to overcoming physical challenges. It comes with the territory when you spend your time hurtling down mountains at speeds of up to 100km/hr, but nothing has quite prepared the 2018 Paralympics super combined standing champion for the latest obstacle fate has placed in her path: Crohn’s disease.
“I have had a rough few years with injuries and have felt I have always been able to overcome those in a pretty good manner,” said Jepsen, who since 2011 has broken her hand, twice torn the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in her knee and broken her ankle. “But in this situation, I don’t know how to fix myself.
“Most athletes believe if you put in the hard work it will pay off but I have had the ability to work hard taken away from me. It’s now more of a mental, confidence battle.”
The 19-year-old Canadian was diagnosed with Crohn’s, an inflammatory bowel disease, in September 2018, after she returned from a summer training camp in Chile with severe stomach pains and spent more than six weeks going in and out of hospital. She is now back out on the slopes, managing the pain and attempting to adjust to her new reality.