Snowboarder who had to learn to walk again after crash hoping for a spot in Winter Olympics

Credit: Maisie Potter Pictures

A professional team GB snowboarder who had to learn to walk again after a major crash put a halt to her career is now hoping to compete in the Winter Olympics.

Maisie Potter from Bangor missed her chance to qualify for the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang after suffering a heel fracture in a qualifying event in 2017.

It meant Maisie was unable to compete in any events for the rest of the season.

Maisie said: “It was so gutting. I had about three months of not putting any weight on my foot and then I had to learn how to walk which took a while. 

“My leg had started to really stiffen up because of the metal plate in my foot. I even started to lose weight.

“It’s scary going down a course if you’re not physically fit or if you’re having flashbacks. I wasn’t ready to push it yet so I’d say it took a year or so to get back to where I felt like I could actually compete again."

Maisie post-operation in a hospital in Chambéry, France. Credit: Maisie Potter

After recovering from her injury and able to train again, the 23-year-old has since achieved a second place finish in the 2020 Europa Cup 2020 and has firmly set her sights on representing her country in the 2022 Beijing Olympics.

It would feel like the highlight and pinnacle of my career to represent the UK and Wales at the Winter Olympics. All the hard work, commitment and perseverance will have been worth it.

Maisie Potter

But with numerous events cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, Maisie says the pressure is on during this Olympic qualification season.

Maisie told ITV Cymru Wales: “We have way fewer opportunities to get the results we want. There’s a change in atmosphere and everyone is fired up, there’s a lot of competition but also a lot of excitement.”

Left: Maisie during the Pyeongchang 2018 Olympic Winter Games photocall, Right: Maisie accepting second place at the Europa Cup Credit: Maisie Potter

Maisie learned to ski on a dry slope in North Wales at the age of six before moving to the French Alps where she joined Chamonix Snowboard Club and realised snowboarding was her calling. 

Her family eventually moved back to their original home in North Wales six years later, but the young athlete still had a thirst for the sport.

At 13, she won the overall title in the Snowboard Cross snowboarding competition while competing in three British Championships. 

Maisie says her passion for snowboarding is what gives her the most momentum down the slopes.

She said: "Snowboarding is playful but also graceful, there’s always stuff to learn when you’re snowboarding.

I love that if you have any worries, you can just let go of them and it clears your head.

Maisie Potter
Maisie says her parents introduced her to climbing, cycling and mountaineering which naturally led to her trying other adventurous sports. Credit: Maisie Potter

Maisie continued: “It’s really sociable as well, I get to share those amazing moments with the same people when you’re competing with your friends who support you."

The 23-year-old also says that despite travelling to some of 'the most beautiful valleys in Europe', North Wales still has a special place in her heart.

Maisie added: “Every time I’m travelling I’m always bigging it up, I’m like a North Wales advert.

“I think it’s such a unique place it’s so tucked away, when the sun is shining especially, it’s the best place to be. You’ve got the sea and the mountains and I have a love for both.”

“Everyone is into outdoors there as well like me. North Wales has everything, I can’t find anywhere like it.”