Emily Brydon enjoyed a little Christmas holiday in Rome with her mom and best friend. Her goal was to revitalize and prepare for the next speed events, which will take place in Haus im Ennstal in the beginning of January.
After earning a total of three podiums in the 2007/2008 season, Brydon did not have a podium finish in 2008/2009. But since then Brydon seems to have found new ways of dealing with disappointments and setbacks and to come back stronger because of them.
Opening the 2009-2010 World Cup season on the podium, finishing 2nd in the first downhill in Lake Louise, Alberta and 3rd one day later in the 2nd downhill at Lake Louise, Brydon showed that she is well prepared, fit and confident to shoot for her 3rd Olympics. The 30-year-old Canadian, who plans to retire after this World Cup season, faces additional pressure with the Olympic Games taking place close to her home.
"After the 2006 Turin Olympics I almost quit skiing. The Games were one of the low points in my career", Brydon says during an interview at the team hotel in Val d' Isère, the day before she earned the 3rd best in the downhill portion of the super combined race. "I decided then that if I continue skiing, I want to make it less about me and more about something else. I want to give something back to the world. I realized it was important to keep my identity separate from my results", Brydon explains.
Consequently, the Canadian Right to Play ambassador established the Emily Brydon Youth Foundation.
The Foundation's goal is to provide financial assistance to children and their families in the Elk Valley, British Columbia, Canada and help them pursue sports, arts, education and other life skills, beyond what is offered in a public school environment.
"Through this project young children can attend camps, and be provided with playgrounds and new skateboard parks. Every winter the Foundation supports about 35 kids coming from a variety of backgrounds. Some of them may have had a troubled childhood or have learning disabilities.
Others may be extremely talented hockey players or musicians", says Brydon who has personally enjoyed the benefits of pursuing her passion to its highest levels.
Brydon, who loves to be busy, has her mom helping her run the Foundation in winter while she focuses on skiing. "My mom and I are really close", the Canadian skier says. "Since this year will be my last, my mom is going to watch me ski at some races. She will also be in Cortina d' Ampezzo at the end of January 2010".
This does not change the fact that Brydon likes St. Moritz best of all the World Cup ski resorts. She has been very successful there in previous years (3rd in downhill in 2000, 2nd in super-G in 2007 and 1st World Cup super-G win in 2008) and likes the fantasy world atmosphere of the village.
When she was young, Brydon never thought of becoming a skier although she has always been passionate about the sport. Growing up in Fernie, B.C., she did not pass an opportunity to ski the diverse terrain on powder days and knows all the hidden spots.
It was only later on that Brydon decided that she was a good enough skier to make a living with it. "Competitive skiing is a great way to live because you get to see so many places all across Europe", Brydon says. "You also develop some crazy bonds with the people on the team. Britt (Janyk - editor's note) for example, I have known since I was 12", Brydon says.
Over the years, the Canadian, who has been on the team since 1997, has learned that her needs change and the way how she succeeds changes as well. Therefore Brydon sometimes rents a car for the races in Europe to be able to physically remove herself when she feels the need to do so. This allows her to have more personal freedom and return to the team when she is ready for it.
Brydon has grown accustomed to live out of a duffle bag while raveling on the world cup circuit and tearing up the most challenging ski slopes in the world. "When the ski season is finished, the biggest thing for me is to wash my clothes in my own washing machine instead of some laundry place. I also like to go grocery shopping and cook my own food", Brydon says laughing. "This may all change once I stop skiing but for now this is what I miss most when I am gone".