No matter how you slice it, George Grey has struggled on the World Cup to start the season. While his Canadian team members Devon Kershaw and Alex Harvey have stormed out of the gate, taking points in several events, Grey has placed 78th, 84th, 79th, and 32nd, a far cry from his stellar Olympic record.
But when Grey was first planning his season, he wasn’t even considering heading to Europe to race. He recognized that in the past he had struggled in early-season races, and wanted to the domestic circuit. But a lack of events scheduled in North American (one SuperTour weekend in November) forced him to go to Europe to get some racing shape.
“I knew I wasn’t in shape, and when you’re not in shape on the World Cup, you’re at the back,” Grey said in an interview with FasterSkier, from his parents’ home in Rossland, B.C.,
Grey highlighted two challenges which have made the start of his season a little bumpier than he – and many Canadian ski fans – had imagined.
First, he had knee surgery this spring to clear up a lingering injury, and it ended up requiring a longer period of recovery than he had anticipated.
“Every time I pushed the training, it would flare up,” he said. The period where he struggled to recover properly has left Grey at least a month behind in his preparations, he said.
Second, this summer, his wife gave birth to the couple’s first child, Gavin Grey, and the adjustment to being an athlete as well as a father has taken a toll on the two-time Canadian Olympian.
“There were days that I was training more than I was sleeping,” Grey said. “I wouldn’t change it for the world, but it’s a part of my life now, and I’m learning how to juggle my time.”
Things are slowly coming around – in the last World Cup, Grey finished 32nd, closer to where he is expected to be. But there is still a long way to go, and without a secured spot on the World Championships team, Grey still has work to do.
“This is going to be such a different year; I don’t know what to expect,” he said. “Maybe I’ll make World Championships and maybe I won’t, but regardless, we will still have a really strong team.”
World Championships is still his major focus, but Grey acknowledged that he still needs to qualify like everyone else – he won’t be named to the team based on past success, and he knows he hasn’t trained as much as usual.
Grey refuses to get bogged down in the details, though, or focused on results, “I don’t read criteria,” he said. “I just ski race.”