Ski Slopestyle

Kelly Sildaru
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Olympic freestyle skiing favorite injured in fall, out indefinitely

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Estonian Kelly Sildaru, the 15-year-old Olympic ski slopestyle favorite, is out indefinitely after suffering a knee injury in a training fall in the past week in New Zealand, according to her social media.

“Until I get home and see my team of doctors and specialist we don’t know how long I will be off skis or what the injury really is,” was posted on Sildaru’s accounts. “I am determined to put the work in to be back as soon as possible, but also will want to be 100% to ensure a long career.”

The post said Sildaru will provide more details once she learns more about the injury in the next two weeks. Sildaru’s father and coach said the fall was not hard but a result of a her skis being crossed on an unlucky landing, according to Estonian media.

Sildaru, who was born during the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics, won the last two Winter X Games ski slopestyle titles. Her first, at age 13 in 2016, made her the youngest Winter X Games champion in any event.

The PyeongChang ski slopestyle event takes place on her 16th birthday.

Sildaru is also a medal contender in ski halfpipe after winning the world junior title last season and placing second in a World Cup event in New Zealand on Sept. 1. She outscored the three Sochi Olympic pipe medalists, including gold medalist Maddie Bowman, in the World Cup.

By age 12, Sildaru was already in an Estonian yogurt commercial with one of the nation’s pop stars. A video of her skiing from when she was 8 and 9 years old has more than 200,000 YouTube views.

All seven of Estonia’s Winter Olympic medals have come in cross-country skiing.

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VIDEO: Slopestyle skier shows off acrobatic moves in training

Hello Friends, Fans and Sponsors. I wanted to be the first to tell you about a recent training crash I had. While in New Zealand this past week, I fell and twisted my knee while training for the upcoming season. At this time I am taking all pre cautions and will be flying home to be evaluated and determine what is next in recovery. Fortunately I was able to get two great results at my first World Cup's of the season to help secure my place in the Olympics. However, until I get home and see my team of doctors and specialist we don't know how long I will be off skis or what the injury really is, but I am determined to put the work in to be back as soon as possible, but also will want to be 100% to ensure a long career. I truly thank you for all the support and I promise once we have more info and knowledge of my situation over the next couple of weeks we will be back to provide updates. All my best Kelly

A post shared by Kelly Sildaru (@kellysildaru) on

Slopestyle skier shows off acrobatic moves in training video

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Swiss slopestyle skier Andri Ragettli looks ready if some form of parkour is added to the Olympics.

A video of the 19-year-old bouncing and flipping around a room full of obstacles (including gymnastics equipment) was posted on his social media Sunday.

Ragettli is perhaps best known for landing what was touted as the first ski quad cork 1800 in March (video here).

He is also a bona fide medal contender for PyeongChang. Ragettli won the 2015-16 World Cup season title and was second this past season.

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MORE: Olympic ski slopestyle champion suffers major injury

Joss Christensen must battle back from major injury to defend Olympic title

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Olympic ski slopestyle champion Joss Christensen landed awkwardly and felt a pop in his right knee while training three weeks ago.

“The first thought in my mind was, it’s over,” Christensen recalled in a phone interview Thursday.

It’s not.

Christensen, one of the biggest surprises of the Sochi Winter Games, suffered a torn ACL and meniscus, plus an MCL sprain in Mammoth Mountain, Calif., on May 10.

He underwent surgery May 18 and had another knee scope last Friday due to excess swelling.

He expects to be off snow for the next five and a half months.

The 25-year-old plans to be competition ready around mid-December, right around the start of PyeongChang Olympic qualifying. No more than four men will earn Olympic berths after a series of selection events.

Christensen’s initial fear that he wouldn’t be able to defend his Olympic title in February has given way to a fighter’s spirit.

“I know that a lot of the other skiers are probably counting me out right now,” he said. “This puts me right back where I like to be. There’s no target on my back this time. I’m the underdog again. I just want to prove everyone wrong.”

Christensen was overlooked going into the 2013-14 Olympic season. He finished eighth and 12th at the first two Olympic qualifiers but won the last selection event for Sochi, wrapping up the final U.S. berth.

Christensen then led a U.S. Olympic ski slopestyle podium sweep with Gus Kenworthy and Nick Goepper.

He dedicated the surprise victory to his father, who had died of a congenital heart problem six months earlier.

Christensen struggled with injuries after Sochi. There were rabies and tetanus shots after a dog bit him in Bosnia and Herzegovina. He broke his left hand and bruised his left knee and suffered cartilage damage at the 2016 Winter X Games.

Christensen underwent left knee surgery last summer and was off snow for four months.

He returned to finish sixth at X Games last January. More importantly, he ranked second among Americans behind McRae Williams.

Christensen said last fall he expected the 2017-18 season to be his last. Now, he’s not as sure.

“My goal right now is I’m going to keep competing as long as I’m getting invited to the contests,” he said.

MORE: Mark McMorris’ brother details snowboarder’s life-threatening crash

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