The challenging Olympic slopestyle course at Rosa Khutor Extreme Park has already taken out one favorite, and another contender had his own problems on it today: Team USA snowboarder Shaun White (pictured).
The two-time Olympic gold medalist jammed his left wrist in a fall one day after Norway’s Torstein Horgmo broke his collarbone in training and was subsequently ruled out of the Sochi Games.
However, White’s injury was relatively minor compared to the concussion sustained by female snowboarder Marika Enne of Finland after she fell and hit her head at the end of a run. She was taken off the course on a stretcher.
White, who’s also gunning for a third consecutive gold in the halfpipe in Sochi in addition to competing in slopestyle, said it’s been frustrating to witness the training incidents.
“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,” he said according to the Associated Press.
“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.”
Injuries are becoming a common thread among the favorites in the inaugural Olympic slopestyle competition.
In addition to Horgmo’s broken collarbone and White’s jammed wrist (not to mention the right shoulder injury he got in an Olympic qualifier event), Canada’s Mark McMorris is entering Sochi after breaking a rib in an incident at the Winter X Games last month in Aspen.
For his part, McMorris does not believe the course is an especially problematic one and noted that the sport altogether will always carry a risk for its competitors.
“I don’t think it’s dangerous,” he told the AP. “Snowboarding’s dangerous. But crossing the street is dangerous, too.”
After Horgmo was injured yesterday, officials met with male and female riders to discuss possible tweaks to the slopestyle course.