The entire world has been focused on the Sochi Olympics this week. They have watched their countries win medals, set records, and display to everyone what Olympians are made of. However, for every athlete that has proudly stepped on a podium, there has been one who has been injured. As the injuries at Sochi continue to pile up, the world may have to stop and take notice of the havoc this year’s winter games is bringing.
The latest injury at Sochi has been the worst one yet. Maria Komissarova was rushed to the hospital Saturday after a horrific crash during a practice run. The Russian skier was training alone on the course when she lost control off of a jump at the top of the course. The resulting crash left her with a fractured vertebrae in her lower back. In addition, Komissarova also suffered a dislocated spine. She went through over six hours of surgery on Saturday. Although her condition is stable, her situation is still very grim. Early Sunday morning, Komissarova was airlifted out of Russia to a hospital in Germany. There were initial concerns about moving the injured skier due to the severity of the injury. Now it appears that doctors felt it necessary to take the risk. The hospital in Germany will provide further treatment in the hopes of saving Komissarova.
The injuries at Sochi have not stopped piling up. Today, two more female skiers were removed from competition. Norway’s Helene Olafsen had to drop out after she suffered what has been initially reported as a knee injury. Worse still, American Jackie Hernandez will also be withdrawing after taking a fierce blow to the head. During her qualifying run, Hernandez was knocked completely unconscious after a violent impact with the snow. She regained consciousness a few minutes later, and was attempting to speak with the medics who had rushed to her aid. She was taken down the mountain on her own power, but was very unstable on her feet.
These latest injuries just add to the large list of medal favorites who have been knocked out of competition. Torstein Horgmo of Norway had to withdraw from slopestyle after he crashed and broke his collarbone. Shaun White also dropped out of the same event after injuring his wrist. He was attempting to protect his run at halfpipe gold from an injury on the dangerous slopestyle course. White still failed to medal in his best event, halfpipe, and the injury to his wrist surely played a factor in it.
Czech Sarka Pancochova was one of the lucky ones to escape injury. She crashed hard during the slopestyle finals, but walked away unscathed. She was lucky, but her helmet was not. The impact on her head split her helmet practically in two.
Despite the injuries at Sochi piling up, Olympic officials remain confident in the safety of the competitors. They find that the injuries at Sochi are no more than those of previous games. Though that may be true, it certainly does not help Maria Komissarova, or the dozens more who have yet to compete. Fans are going to have to stop hoping for medals and start hoping their team just survives.
By Chris Chisam