Winter X-Games 2014 Aspen - Day 3

Slopestyle snowboard medal hopeful Horgmo out of Olympics (UPDATED)

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UPDATE (9:35 a.m. ET): Officials have confirmed that changes will indeed be made to the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park slopestyle course after top Norwegian snowboarder Torstein Horgmo (pictured) suffered a broken collarbone in a training crash today and was subsequently ruled out of the Olympics.

The New York Times reports that male and female snowboarders proposed those changes in a meeting with officials following the training session. Assistant snowboard race director Roberto Moresi said that the course would be modified ahead of Thursday’s qualifications.

Per the Olympic News Service, Horgmo crashed on the rail feature at the top of the course. He was awake and alert according to Norway’s team manager, Thomas Harstad, before being taken via ambulance to the athletes’ hospital in Krasnaya Polyana.

“It was on the first rail element it happened,” team coach Per-Iver Grimsrud said according to Reuters. “He was doing a switch hardway, backside 270. He landed wrong on the rail, and then he fell into the stairs to the side.”

Horgmo, 26, the gold medal winner in Big Air at the 2013 Winter X Games, had been considered a threat to take one of the first-ever medals in the slopestyle snowboarding competition, which will have its medal events take place on Saturday (men’s) and Sunday (women’s).

Irish snowboarder Seamus O’Connor had said the riders needed to speak up about fixing some of the jumps on the course, while 2013 slopestyle world champion Roope Tonteri of Finland dubbed the entire course “pretty sketchy.”

“I think they wanted to make big kickers, and it’s not really good for riders, and it’s not really safe,” Tonteri told the Associated Press. “I just don’t want to get injured. It’s not a really fun course to ride.”

source:
Workers make changes to the Sochi Olympic slopestyle course. Credit: Nick Casanova/NBC Sports

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Mikaela Shiffrin wrestles with doubt in seconds before World Cup downhill debut

Mikaela Shiffrin, of the United States, skis during the third training run for the World Cup women's downhill ski race in Lake Louise, Alberta, Thursday, Dec. 1, 2016. (Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press via AP)
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After a momentary panic in the start house, Mikaela Shiffrin raced to a tie for 18th in the first downhill of her World Cup career in Lake Louise, Alberta, on Friday.

Shiffrin, the youngest Olympic slalom champion who has also won a World Cup giant slalom, has been slowly adding the speed events of super-G and downhill to her repertoire the last two seasons.

“It wasn’t bad,” Shiffrin said, according to SkiRacing.com. “I certainly didn’t risk anything crazy.”

Her result Friday, 1.99 seconds behind Slovenian winner Ilka Stuhec, came after Shiffrin was 18th, 24th and 30th fastest in downhill training runs the previous three days. Shiffrin also had to wait several minutes in the start house as the racer before her crashed (video here).

“That was just a bummer,” Shiffrin said, according to the Denver Post. “I was like, ‘Just don’t let it affect you,’ but being up there for 10 minutes, like, ‘What happened? What’s taking them so long? What’s going on? Is she hurt?’

“Then I started doubting myself, like my technique going off the jumps, which is actually pretty good. I was going back and forth between, ‘Should I even be doing this? Maybe I just should pull out because I don’t want to kill myself.’ Then I’m like, ‘You’re absolutely fine, you haven’t felt sketched out a single time on this track in the past three days, so stick with that. You don’t have to go crazy.'”

“To be fast in speed there certainly needs to be a certain level of risk, and I know that, but now, if [giant slalom] and slalom are my main priority this season, I don’t need to be going crazy in a downhill with flat light and after I got iced [waiting so long],” Shiffrin said, according to SkiRacing.com.

Stuhec won Friday’s race by .22 of a second over Italian Sofia Goggia. Swede Kajsa Kling was third.

A race replay can be seen here. Full results are here.

Lindsey Vonn, owner of a record 18 wins at Lake Louise, is missing the annual World Cup stop in Alberta due to a broken arm from a November crash. Vonn had raced at Lake Louise each of the previous 15 seasons.

Last season, Shiffrin made her World Cup debut in the super-G at Lake Louise and finished 15th.

The women have another downhill Saturday and a super-G on Sunday in Lake Louise, both streaming live on NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app (schedule here).

MORE: Vonn eyes January return from her most painful injury

High-speed crash at World Cup downhill in Lake Louise (video)

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Swiss Joana Haehlen crashed into netting at high speed during a World Cup downhill at Lake Louise, Alberta, on Friday.

Haehlen, 24, lost her right ski after landing from a jump and sped uncontrollably off course. She braced for impact, slammed into red netting and was turned around before landing with neither of her skis still attached.

She lay on the snow while being attended to and eventually skied down the mountain on her own.

It caused a 10-minute delay before the next skier, American Mikaela Shiffrin, could take her run.

VIDEO: Vonn details the most painful injury of her career