Sidelined Ramos comfortable with cheerleading, spectator roles
Torn anterior cruciate knee ligament, reconstructive surgery, physical therapy, … out for the season.
These cold, sterile words have unfortunately become as common in the skiing world’s lexicon as Nordic, Alpine and freestyle. In a sport where split-second decisions can make the difference between a spot on the podium and a spill into the fence, knee injuries have become a ubiquitous force in the life of a world-class skier.
No one knows that better than South Shore freestyler Travis Ramos, who will miss Saturday’s World Cup mogul competition at Heavenly Ski Resort as he rehabilitates an ACL tear suffered while traveling abroad last summer. Knowing he probably wouldn’t be able to compete in front of friends, family and a partisan hometown crowd was a reality Ramos prepared himself months ago.
“I’ve kind of dealt with my injury four months ago when I realized that this time was going to come,” said Ramos, a member of the U.S. freestyle ‘A’ team. “And I realized the fact that I was going to have to watch this competition from the bottom (of the course), so there’s no sort of surprise factor.”
Many observers – including some of Ramos’ coaches – were ‘surprised’ how quickly the 19-year-old duals wizard acclimated himself to the rigors of World Cup competition. Ramos came out of the gates smokin’ in 1998, picking up a seventh in singles at Breckenridge before taking his spot on the podium (third) in his first dual moguls test in Chatel, France.
Then came the ACL tear, suffered during preseason training in New Zealand. A Sept. 19 surgery followed, as did months of strenuous rehabilitation. On Jan. 11, local orthopedic surgeon Randy Watson gave Ramos the go-ahead to resume skiing. Not competitively, of course. And certainly not in time for Saturday’s highly anticipated moguls competition.
But don’t expect Ramos, 19, to sit back and play the part of a passive observer. He’ll be wearing any number of hats throughout the weekend.
Like team cheerleader.
“I will be very, very loud. That will be my participation for the time being,” Ramos said. “I still am part of the team, and I’ll be there.”
Or an interested spectator.
“I’ll be around and I hope everybody else in Tahoe is too, because it’s going to be a great show,” Ramos said.
Or a diligent scout.
“It’s a prime opportunity to size up the competition for 2002 (Olympics),” he said. “Size ’em up. ‘I knew that guy back when …’ sort of thing. Pretty much all the key players that will be in Salt Lake City are here right now.”
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