White adds jammed wrist to the list of injuries

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 4, 2014 at 6:05 am •  Published: February 4, 2014
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KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia (AP) — Shaun White saw the glassy sheen of the super-steep takeoff ramp and knew something bad was coming.

He fell and jammed his left wrist — adding another nagging injury to his long list of bumps and bruises while also entering his name on the growing list of athletes falling victim to a treacherous Olympic slopestyle course.

"A little intimidating," he called the course after Tuesday's training. "It's been a challenge."

Through two days of practice runs in the Russian mountains above Sochi, the course at Rosa Khutor Extreme Park has already taken out one of the favorites, Torstein Horgmo of Norway, who broke a collarbone while riding through the rails Monday.

On Tuesday, shortly after White's minor injury, Marika Enne of Finland fell hard and hit her head at the end of her run. She was taken off the course on a stretcher with a concussion.

Slopestyle qualifying begins Thursday — the day before the opening ceremony — with White trying to win the first of two gold medals at this year's Olympics. His attempt at a third straight title on the halfpipe is set for next Tuesday.

First, though, he must emerge unscathed from a slopestyle course that is taking its toll on some of the world's best riders.

"It's frustrating to see it," White said. "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."

Rider after rider said the same thing. As Tuesday's training session was winding down, a large cluster of snowboarders and their coaches met at the base for a discussion of what changes need to be made before Thursday.

"When we get to a course, nothing's perfect," American snowboarder Chas Guldemond said. "It's roughed in. We test the course. We come in and tweak it. We have rider meetings. We give builders feedback and make tweaks to the course to make it safer and more usable for the riders."

No matter what fixes they make, there's no taking the danger completely out of slopestyle.

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