Despite some overnight changes, Shaun White and a Finnish snowboarder were injured on Sochi's slopestyle course at Rosa Khutor Extreme Park on Tuesday. According to reports, White jammed his left wrist and Marika Enne of Finland crashed on the final jump of the course.
Enne was carried away on a stretcher and her coach Mats Lindfors told reporters that Enne had "hit her head." White's injury was described as minor. He was in good enough shape to stick around and tell reporters that Sochi's slopestyle course was "a little intimidating."
The two incidents come one day after Norway's Torstein Horgmo, a medal favorite in the men's slopestyle, broke his collarbone on Monday while attempting a difficult jump.
The tough course combined with wet conditions have drawn early criticism from athletes with a group meeting at the end of Monday's practice runs to share their concerns. Course builders have taken the complaints to heart.
Feedback given at the end of Monday’s session prompted course builders to make changes overnight, with more positive reactions coming from athletes on Tuesday.
Still, some athletes believe the course needs more work. “For women the big jumps are a little too big,” said Sarka Pancochova of the Czech Republic. “When you have really good jumps like the X Games even the women have no problem dealing with the big jumps. It’s very hard for them to figure it out. It’s progressed from yesterday.”
Slopestyle is a new event at the Winter Games and features what is more or less a downhill obstacle course built of jumps, rails and boxes. Athletes score points after being judged on their moves and tricks. For a full tutorial on slopestyle, check out Fourth-Place Medal's slopestyle guide.
"I think they wanted to make big kickers and it's not really good for riders. It's not really safe anymore," Finland's Roope Tonteri told the Toronto Sun after Monday's practice round. "I just don't want to get injured."
The freestyle nature of slopestyle makes it inherently dangerous, but something must be wrong if snowboarders are already gathering together to talk about how the course can be made safer.
Organizers must act quick to make any further changes, however. Qualification for both the men's and women's slopestyle are scheduled for Thursday with the medal events slated for this weekend.
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