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Fourth-Place Medal

Gnarly crash ended teen snowboarder Arielle Gold's Olympics before they started

Mike Oz
Fourth-Place Medal
Arielle Gold fall
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Arielle Gold fell during a practice run before the women's halfpipe competition and injured her shoulder. (NBC Olympics)

Arielle Gold was preparing to make her Olympic debut Wednesday, as one of the handful of American snowboarders looking to medal in the women's halfpipe. Gold is a 17-year-old from Steamboat Springs, Colo., who had previously performed well at the X Games and the Youth Olympic Games.

She was getting ready for the qualifying round ... when everything went wrong.

[Photos: Remaining USA gold medal hopefuls]

Gold was doing a practice run at Rosa Khutor Extreme Park when she tumbled hard, hitting the snow, contorting her body and suffering one of the more gruesome falls of the Sochi Games. Gold had to be helped off the halfpipe. She had separated her shoulder and couldn't compete in the event (in which teammates Kaitlyn Farrington and Kelly Clark won gold and bronze, respectively).

The Olympics were finished for Gold before they ever really began. Even more heartbreaking? Her parents were looking on during the practice run, and her mother quickly turned away from the scene. (Watch video of the crash.)

Gold's Twitter account is quiet, and she hasn't said anything publicly yet about the crash or her dashed Olympic dreams. Her brother, Taylor Gold, another Team USA snowboarder, did confirm the injury to a fan.

[Photos: U.S. survives speed skating crash]

It wasn't a good week for the Golds. Taylor, 21, fell during his semifinal run in the men's halfpipe competition a day earlier, which prevented him from advancing to the finals

As they both know well, one of the most important parts of snowboarding is getting back up after you fall. Hopefully the youngsters rebound from their Sochi Games woes and we see them at a future Olympics.

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Mike Oz is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at mikeozstew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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