Three hip surgeries by the age of 24 and severe lower back pain forced Olympic short track speed skater Katherine Reutter to retire early, but she couldn't stay away forever.
Now Reutter is making a comeback.
“I would call you ‘Comeback Katherine,’” said TMJ4 Sports Reporter Elise Menaker.
“Oh, I like that!” Katherine reacted. “I've never even thought of that. Alright, ‘Comeback Katherine.’ That's way cuter actually. I like that.”
But a comeback wasn’t always in the cards for Reutter. Not after the two-time Olympic medalist and 2011 World Champion met her match.
“I can't describe to you how awful that pain was,” she said.
But perhaps the greatest pain was losing her grandfather.
“I felt like I barely knew my family for all the time I spent speedskating,” she said, fighting back tears. “I barely had opportunities to be with them like this and the one chance I did was at a funeral. That was awful. It made me realize there are more important things than skating so even though it was very much driven by injury, it was a really emotional time to be like is this worth it? Is all this struggle and this pain worth it but not being with your family is that really worth it?”
In 2013, Reutter turned her attention from competing to coaching. But three years later, there was still something missing.
“I freaking love to speedskate,” Reutter said with a big smile. “I really missed having something in my life that every day I'd open my eyes and be like ‘Yes, I get to do this.’”
And one other thing was missing, the pain.
“Ever since the 2010 Games, I haven't been able to train like I'm able to train now,” she said . “It's the happiest I think I've literally ever been.”
These days a concussion has kept Reutter off the ice, but overall, she feels like she’s training better than before.
“It totally used to be medal or die. No middle,” she said.
It’s been through teaching others she has taught herself a true medal mentality.
“When I'm really, really down, it helps me to imagine myself as one of my athletes,” Reutter said. “And what I usually say is, ‘Big deal, you didn't get what you wanted but you wore your heart on your sleeve and you gave so much effort.’”
So you can call her, “Comeback Katherine.”
“Comeback Katherine, I love that.”
Reutter doesn't know if these next winter games in 2018 will be her last but what she does know is that family comes first and coming up is her wedding in July.
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