Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Shaun White of the United States takes a jump during a Snowboard Slopestyle training session at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park, prior to the 2014 Winter Olympics, Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
On treacherous Olympic course, White adds jammed wrist to injuries
First Published Feb 04 2014 09:31 am • Last Updated Feb 04 2014 10:57 pm

Krasnaya Polyana, Russia • Shaun White saw the glassy sheen of the super-steep takeoff ramp and knew something bad was coming.

He fell and jammed his left wrist — adding another nagging injury to his long list of bumps and bruises while also entering his name on the growing list of athletes falling victim to a treacherous Olympic slopestyle course.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

"A little intimidating," he called the course after Tuesday’s training. "It’s been a challenge."

Through two days of practice runs in the Russian mountains above Sochi, the course at Rosa Khutor Extreme Park has already taken out one of the favorites, Torstein Horgmo of Norway, who broke a collarbone while riding through the rails Monday.

On Tuesday, shortly after White’s minor injury, Marika Enne of Finland fell hard and hit her head at the end of her run. She was taken off the course on a stretcher with a concussion.

Slopestyle qualifying begins Thursday — the day before the opening ceremony — with White trying to win the first of two gold medals at this year’s Olympics. His attempt at a third straight title on the halfpipe is set for next Tuesday.

First, though, he must emerge unscathed from a slopestyle course that is taking its toll on some of the world’s best riders.

"It’s frustrating to see it," White said. "It puts a damper on the whole mood and it’s kind of like you’re getting ready to do a big trick and you see something like that. Intimidating. Unfortunate. I’m hoping the builders can make some changes and the course has a little more of a friendly vibe. But I can’t change the course. Just doing the best I can."

Rider after rider said the same thing. As Tuesday’s training session was winding down, a large cluster of snowboarders and their coaches met at the base for a discussion of what changes need to be made before Thursday.

"When we get to a course, nothing’s perfect," American snowboarder Chas Guldemond said. "It’s roughed in. We test the course. We come in and tweak it. We have rider meetings. We give builders feedback and make tweaks to the course to make it safer and more usable for the riders."


story continues below
story continues below

No matter what fixes they make, there’s no taking the danger completely out of slopestyle.

Horgmo’s injury came on a rail at the top of the course — a feature that has potential for injury no matter how the course is built.

Canada’s Mark McMorris, one of the favorites in this event, knows all about that. He is 10 days removed from breaking a rib after slamming into a rail on his final run at the Winter X Games.

He said he’s medically clear but still sore. He skipped training Monday and made his first runs Tuesday.

Asked about the course, he said the take-off ramps are built "kind of obnoxiously tall." One theory is they were overbuilt to compensate for melting, which could come if temperatures remain above freezing as they have this week.

But dangerous?

"I don’t think it’s dangerous," McMorris said. "Snowboarding’s dangerous. But crossing the street is dangerous, too."

White claimed his wrist injury shouldn’t slow him down over the upcoming six-day span that will help determine his legacy; on the halfpipe, he is hoping to become the first American male athlete to win an event at the Winter Games three straight times.

The shiner he took while training in Copper Mountain last week is almost completely cleared up — just a small trace of red underneath the right eye.

The ankle he sprained last month in Breckenridge? No problem.

The right shoulder he jammed in a nasty fall in Mammoth Lakes at an Olympic qualifier? "The shoulder still needs to cooperate a little more. It’s a little rough. I’ve just got to warm it up real good in the morning," he said.

Next Page >


Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.