The Sochi Network

Sochi Summary Day 9: The most dangerous sport at the Winter Olympics

The Sochi Network

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How dangerous is Snowboard Cross?

It has been described as a "roller derby on snow" and the only thing certain about snowboard cross is the sheer unpredictability of it.

In the event's third Olympics, today saw crashes aplenty.

Norwegian Helene Olafsen was the first rider out in qualifying and after one jump ruptured the anterior cruciate ligament in her left knee. American Jacqueline Hernandez, who went out sixth, hit the slope with a thud as she tried to land backwards and appearing to lose consciousness as she smashed her head into the snow.

When the racers went head-to-head it was just as incident packed. France's Charlotte Bankes looked set to win her quarter-final but crashed badly and appeared to lose consciousness.

In the semi-final, Susanne Moll landed on the knuckle off the first jump. Her face was covered in abrasions as she opted to by-pass the small final.

Italy's Michela Moioli later ruptured a cruciate ligament in her knee after a fall in the final and will return home to undergo surgery.

All this a day after Russian freestyle skier Maria Komissarova was seriously injured on the same course. She underwent more than six hours of spinal surgery after breaking her back in a crash during training.

Detailed injury tracking during the last Winter Olympics recorded that 11 per cent of athletes got hurt – and the most dangerous sport was snowboard cross.


Daniel Richardsson - The Swede nearly didn't make it to Sochi, he nearly didn't make it anywhere. Richardsson suffered a severe knee injury and a friend of his was killed when they were hit by a camper-van while changing a tyre on a car last summer. But today he won gold in the men's 4 x 10km cross country relay, along with Lars Nelson, Johan Olsson and Marcus Hellner, with the King and Queen of Sweden in attendance. The 31-year-old had already won bronze in the 15km classical.

Jorien ter Mors - Yesterday she competed in one sport, today she won gold in another. Ter Mors had already competed in three short track events, coming fourth in the 1500m, before hitting the bigger oval….and she did it in some style. An Olympic record saw her lead a Dutch 1-2-3-4 in the 1500m and deny compatriot Ireen Wust a piece of history. Ter Mors will return to the short track ice at the Iceberg Skating Palace for the 1000m but may return to Adler Arena to compete in the team pursuit on the oval. The Netherlands have now won 16 speed skating medals in Sochi, smashing the mark set by East Germany at the 1988 Calgary Games, and have swept the podium in three races.

Andrew Weibrecht - A promising career looked in store for the American after he won Super-G silver in Vancouver. Since then he has had more surgeries than top-10 finishes on the World Cup. Firstly, he tore the rotator cuff and labrum in his right shoulder. He then tore ligaments in his left ankle. In 2011, he tore the labrum in his left shoulder. Then he tore ligaments in his right ankle. He had surgery after the 2012 season and again after the 2013 campaign. But the man nicknamed 'Wombat' threw caution to the wind to take silver in the Super-G. "This is probably the most emotional day of ski racing I have ever had," he said.


Lindsey Jacobellis - Jacobellis had yet another Devon Loch moment. The American was trying for a third time to win gold in snowboard cross. In 2006, she was on her way to winning the final at the Turin Olympics when she grabbed her board on a jump at the bottom of the hill and fell. She settled for silver, then cut a gate at the Vancouver Games and failed to make the final. The calamitous American was way ahead in her semi-final but then crashed under no pressure. In true boarder style, she nonchalantly went on to win the Small Final and even did the same grab, off the final kicker, that cost her Turin gold.

Rowan Cheshire - It has been a roller coaster couple of months for the British Freestyle skier. The Stoke teenager became the first British female skier to win halfpipe gold at a World Cup event with her victory in Calgary last month. That booked her a place in Sochi but that may be over before it began after she was knocked unconscious as she came off the left wall during training. A British team statement said she had suffered concussion and would be staying in a nearby hospital overnight. She will be further evaluated over the coming days before a decision is made over whether she is fit to take part in Thursday's competition but it is highly unlikely that she will compete.

Korean Skating Union - The KSU website was shut down overnight due to heavy traffic as fans tried to vent their anger on the site after seeing Viktor Ahn draped in the Russian flag and crying tears of joy after winning short track gold for his adopted country on Saturday. Ahn won three gold medals for South Korea at the 2006 Turin Games under the name Ahn Hyun-soo but after falling out with the KSU and being left out of the team for Vancouver he turned his back on his homeland and took Russian nationality. South Korean sports pages and news sites lambasted the KSU on Sunday. "The Return of the Emperor!" proclaimed the Hankook Ilbo, "Ahn is writing his own history," said Sports Seoul.


The men’s curling rink of skip David Murdoch, Scott Andrews, Greg Drummond and Michael Goodfellow could have secured their semi-final spot with victory over Norway but lost their penultimate match of the round-robin stage at the Ice Cube Curling Centre 7-6. Eve Muirhead's women's team had a day off.

The Isle of Man's Zoe Gillings, in her third Olympics, was pipped for a final place in the snowboard cross final in a photo finish. The 28-year-old was placed ninth after finishing third in the Small Final.

European bronze medallists Penny Coomes and Nicholas Buckland scored 59.33 for their short programme in the ice dance to stand in 11th position.

Lamin Deen, a Lance Sergeant in the Grenadier Guards, and brakeman John Baines are 23rd of the 30 teams at halfway in the two-man Bobsleigh.


Alpine Skiing: Men's Super-G: Kjetil Jansrud (Norway)

Snowboarding: Ladies' Snowboard Cross: Eva Samkova (Czech Republic)

Cross Country: Men's 4 x 10km Relay: Sweden

Speed Skating: Ladies' 1500m: Jorien ter Mors (Netherlands)


Eva Samkova - and her lucky moustache - after winning Snowboard Cross gold.

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The figure skating ice dance competition comes to a conclusion as the rivalry between Americans Meryl Davis and Charlie White and Canada's Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir heats up.


Ole Einar Bjoerndalen has another chance to become the most successful Olympian in the history of the Winter Games as he bids for a 13th medal in Biathlon's mass start which was delayed on Sunday due to fog.

Alexander Zubkov will look to hold off Beat Hefti and Steve Holcomb as they renew acquaintances in the final two runs of the men's two-man Bobsleigh.

Kamil Stoch completed a gold medal sweep of the normal and large hills on Sunday and goes for an unprecedented treble in the team event as he leads Poland's bid.


A former college footballer who races stock trucks when he is not steaming down a mountain on his snowboard, American Nick Baumgartner is as fearless as his namesake Felix when it comes to Snowboard Cross.


06:00: Biathlon - Men's Mass Start

10:12: Snowboarding - Men's Snowboard Cross

15:00: Biathlon - Women's 12.5km Mass Start

15:00: Figure Skating - Ice Dance

16:05: Bobsleigh - Two-man

17:15: Ski Jumping - Men's Team

17:30: Freestyle Skiing - Men's Aerials

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