• The journey to the Games was not an easy one after being plagued with illness and injury following being hit by a car on the Rectory Grove zebra crossing 8 years ago.LEIGH’S Lulu Alexandra, 39, has just returned from Innsbruck Austria with a gold and a silver medal in the Figure Skating.

    The Winter World Masters Games saw over 2000 athletes from around the globe compete across the winter sports disciplines at the famous Olympic sites in Innsbruck.For Ms Alexandra, the journey to the Games was not an easy one after being plagued with illness and injury following being hit by a car on the Rectory Grove zebra crossing 8 years ago.

    Ms Alexandra said: “I’ve battled everything thrown my way over the last decade but I was determined to get to these Games and have an amazing experience.”Having already enjoyed much international success, Lulu had a devastating end to last season, seeing her have to withdraw on the warm up of the free skate section after partially tearing her Achilles tendon.

    She added: “I knew something wasn’t right but hoped my brain would just get on with it. Withdrawing during the warm up, while my mum watched on the livestream was awful. She had tuned in expecting to see me skate a beautiful free programme, and instead, I’m leaving the ice heartbroken.”

    Knowing that this could be a long term injury and with the Games only 8 months away, a programme of intense physio and rehab followed.She said: “Juggling 3 jobs and training was hard enough, but trying to get physio and rehab sessions in as well proved even more challenging.” A return to the ice to compete in time for a competition in Slovenia helped restore Lulu’s confidence.

    Ms Alexandra added: “I was thrilled just to be back. I clearly wasn’t going to be performing at my best, but I was so happy to be on that ice again, and the competition went better than I’d hoped – I stayed upright and I finished both programmes, and was happy with that.

    “My coach and I had set a goals, and medals are always lovely, but realistically, I just wanted to be able to get through the free skate, and get a personal best in the artistic. I was drawn first to skate in the artistic, which is sometimes a blessing as you get to watch everyone else, but it meant I had a long and anxious wait to find out if I would keep my lead.

    “When the last skater had been and we knew I had won, I burst into tears as everything I’d been through over the last 8 years suddenly felt worthwhile. Every early start, every injury, every time I was ill all felt like it was worth even more. I knew I could win, but that ice is slippery and nerves on a slippery surface, when you’re skating on 2mm of steel doesn’t make it any easier.”

    Following the medal ceremony, Ms Alexandra had 3 days to prepare for the technical free skate.

    Ms Alexandra said: “I honestly would have been happy to have just got to the end with a smile on my face after last year. I never imagined I’d get a second medal, and that silver has as much, if not more personal value than the gold artistic one as the journey has been much tougher.

    “The Games were such an incredibly positive experience. I have never skated with so much joy in my heart, as to have been on that ice there in Innsbruck. I hope I’ve shown that you should NEVER give up. I spent my 20’s as a professional singer and performer before the accident, my 30’s recovering and retaining. I’m just wondering what the next decade might hold.”

    For now, Ms Alexandra is back in training and focussed on competing at the ISU event in Germany in May.She said: “I’ll take things one step at a time, and each step, I’m more grateful for the endless support of my family and friends who have helped me get back on my feet. I hope I can continue to inspire people and would love my story to encourage others to fight hard to achieve their ambitions.”

    Special Thanks to Leigh Times for their Article- http://www.leightimes.co.uk/article.cfm?id=126656&headline=Leigh%20ice%20skater%20wins%20gold&sectionIs=news&searchyear=2020