On the right shoulder of Jan Hudec's racing suit, a Maple Leaf intersects with a lion. Meshing symbols of Canada and the Czech Republic over yet another body part that has been surgically repaired sums up Hudec's ski racing history. "I'm still a proud Canadian. I still bleed red," Hudec said. "We all do, technically." Hudec was a physical wreck when he won Olympic super-G bronze in 2014 and ended Canada's 20-year drought in men's alpine skiing. He was bedridden with a herniated disc in his back just a few weeks before the race. No longer with the Canadian team, the 36-year-old is trying to jumpstart his dented chassis and race for the Czechs in February's Winter Games. "My biggest question to myself this summer, if I continue or not, was where barriers become lane changers," Hudec told The Canadian Press. "At one point do you decide whether it's a hurdle that you're supposed to jump over to reach your goal ... or is it an actual barrier that's supposed to guide you onto a new path? "That's been the challenge for me. Deciphering the difference." Injury derailment He won a world championship silver medal in downhill in 2007, as well as six career World Cup medals during his 14 years on the Canadian team. Knee and back injuries limited him to just nine World Cup starts for Canada post-2014. A falling out with Alpine Canada in 2016 sent Hudec to the country of his birth. A month after an eighth surgery on his right knee, Hudec said Alpine Canada made it so financially onerous for him to race, that he was essentially being forced to retire. Alpine Canada countered that Hudec wasn't willing to demonstrate post-surgery progress and fitness in supervised testing and left him off the team for the 2016-17 season. Hudec's parents fled Czechoslovakia in 1982 when he was a baby. They made their way to Alberta a few years later and Hudec grew up ski racing in the Banff area. Racing in Czech colours and well down the start order because his world ranking had dropped, Hudec finished outside the top 40 in World Cup races last season. His best result was 32nd in super-G at the world championship. Hudec's history of skiing fast when he was banged up and lacked fitness makes him