When Carly Margulies slid into the halfpipe Wednesday at the 2022 Winter Olympics for her Olympic debut, it was the first time she had competed in more than two years.
Margulies had seven knee surgeries since 2013, the latest one coming just months before the Olympics when she tore her meniscus during a freak training fall. She pondered retiring before the Olympics, and no one would have blamed her.
But the 24-year-old, who has three top-five World Cup finishes, decided she wasn’t done yet. And on Wednesday, she recorded a score of 82.25 in the freeski halfpipe qualification round, good enough for 10th and a spot in the final.
“I’m still in disbelief I'm here, after everything that happened,” Margulies said on the NBC broadcast. “I am so thankful. I don’t know. I’m speechless. This is crazy.”
Injury after injury
Margulies’ injury issues began when she was a teenager, when she underrotated a spin on a jump and tore her ACL in her right knee in 2013. In 2015, she tore her left ACL. In 2018, she tore her right ACL again.
While rehabbing from her last injury in 2019, Margulies tore her right meniscus. Then in December 2019, she tore her right ACL and meniscus on a fall during the qualifying round at a World Cup event in Colorado.
Finally, last December, just months before she was supposed to leave for the 2022 Winter Olympics, another devastating torn left meniscus.
'It's Just So Fun'
So why come back?
“I kind of realized that today,” Margulies said after her run. “I’ve always been wondering that. But as soon as I landed my first run, I realized, “This is what I’m still doing this for.’”
Doctors warned Margulies that surgery on her meniscus would keep her out for six to nine months. But according to the Associated Press, Margulies’ meniscus was so damaged that the area could simply be “snipped,” leaving her with just four to six weeks of rehab.
Margulies, who lives in Salt Lake City, chose the latter option. She just missed out on making the team in 2018 as a discretionary pick. Four years later, against all odds, she made her debut and landed two clean runs.
On Thursday at 8:30 p.m. ET, Margulies will compete for a medal.
“It’s just so fun,” Margulies said. “I love this sport and everyone around me that I compete with is so nice. The community in this sport is what keeps me going. I love it.”