05/03/2013 12:24 EDT | Updated 07/03/2013 05:12 EDT

Former world champion Kucera hoping to be back in form in time for Sochi

SUNSHINE VILLAGE, Alta. - It's been a long, painful journey back to the ski hill for former world champion John Kucera.

In 2009, the 28-year-old from Calgary was carried off the mountain on a stretcher at Lake Louise after suffering a catastrophic leg injury in a World Cup super-G.

His return to the team the next season was delayed when he re-injured the same leg.

The following year, he battled herniated discs in his back.

"It's a really long road for me and it's not been just one — its been three in a row," Kucera said in a recent interview at Sunshine Village where the national team is doing its end-of-season training.

He's healthy again but with the 2014 Winter Olympics 10 months away he doesn't want to think too far ahead.

"For me the focus still needs to be to raise my level of skiing back to where it was," said Kucera. "Hopefully that goes well and I can go to the Olympics and have a shot at that medal."

The biggest disappointment for Kucera was getting knocked out of competition while he was training for the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver.

"For sure it wasn't easy. I'm not going to lie," he said. "I think I'm very fortunate that I had a lot of great success early in my career but missing those Games in Vancouver was tough for sure, especially since I was starting to ski the best I'd ever skied and I was coming in there with momentum and as a contender."

Kucera won a world downhill title in March 2009 and went into the Olympic season as one of the favourites. Then came the devastating injury at Lake Louise in November.

He fractured his left tibia and fibula and one of the broken bones pierced his calf.

And that was just the beginning of his injuries woes.

"If I can come through this I think I'll be able to look back with a lot more pride than even an Olympic medal could give me just to say I came back from three years out, from all this adversity," he said.

Kucera said at this point he's anything but a contender but took some solace in the fact he was able to compete last season, just not up to the level he was hoping for.

Vancouver's Manuel Osborne-Paradis was also returning from injury this season after breaking his leg in January 2011 in Chamonix, France.

It's made him a lot more cognizant of the risks and the need for training with the Olympics on the horizon.

"It's definitely there but you know coming back from injury and last year being sort of a comeback season I've learned a lot and what I need to do with my equipment, where I need to be to get back in number one spots and the pre-season is very important," said Osborne-Paradis.

"If I haven't won a race or stood on the podium how do I expect to do that at the Olympics? My mindframe this year is to go into Lake Louise feeling really good and trying to peak right at the end of the season and try and keep that peak to the Olympics."

Kucera said he will intensify his training right up to the start of next season.

"It wasn't until later in the year in March at the nationals that I felt my skiing had finally come together a little bit and I think getting going now in May and having a good prep period going into next year," he said. "I think that's going to put me in a much better spot."