The Olympic slopestyle course at Rosa Khutor Extreme Park in Sochi continues to claim victims ahead of the first-ever slopestyle qualifying on Thursday.
Among those injured during practice runs on Tuesday was American superstar Shaun White, who suffered a jammed wrist while falling shortly after dropping into the course. While White’s injury isn’t serious enough to hamper his competition, he did say the safety of the slopestyle course has made it difficult to enjoy the event.
"It's frustrating to see it," White told the AP. "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."
Rosa Khutor Extreme Park already claimed Torstein Horgmo of Norway, one of snowboarding’s top competitors. He suffered a broken collarbone while riding the rails on Monday and will not be able to compete.
Tuesday, Marika Enne of Finland fell and hit her head at the end of her run. She was taken off the course on a stretcher and diagnosed with a concussion.
After Tuesday’s training concluded, snowboarders and their trainers met at the bottom of the course to discuss possible changes that could be made to improve the safety, but with the event starting on Thursday, time is running out.
One of the biggest issues is the height of the takeoff, which are tall to compensate for melting. There’s also the issue of the rail that took out Horgmo at the top of the course, a peril that many snowboarders said would be an issue on any course.
As the competition creeps closer, snowboarders are trying to put the dangers of the course out of their minds and just focus on the competition.
"The course is a little intense," American female snowboarder Jamie Anderson told the AP. "Everyone's making the best of it. I'm having a questionable time getting used to it. But I'm just being slow, patient, taking them one jump at a time. At the end of the day, we're just snowboarding."
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