Skiier's 'gruesome' crash continues safety debate

4 months ago 86
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The women's giant slalom race was delayed for about 15 minutes when American Nina O'Brien, who was sixth-fastest in the opening run, slid across the finish line, screaming in pain after stumbling through the last gate as her skis crossed in front of her.

She was checked by medical personnel and US team staff before being taken away on a sled.

US ski team spokesperson Megan Harrod said O'Brien was "alert and responsive."

This year's Winter Olympics is taking place with artificial snow at just about every event.

The use of man-made snow has been at the centre of controversy as it is considered to be less safe.

O'Brien's accident led to many pundits on Twitter questioning just how safe the snow is at this year's Games.

Reigning two-time Olympic champion Jamie Anderson last week week said she was hesitant to take to the slopestyle contest, labelling the artificial surface "bulletproof ice".

The skiier right before O'Brien, Tessa Worley of France, holder of four world titles and currently second in the World Cup GS standings, crashed on the lower part of the course, hitting a gate as she was attempting a left turn.

She spun around, lost a ski and slid down the hill before rising and making it the rest of the way to the bottom.

Swede caps comeback with gold medal

After the race resumed, Swedish skiier Sara Hector capped a recent career resurgence in the best way possible, winning the gold for her first individual victory at a major championship.

Medics tend to Nina O'Brien after her crash. (Getty)

The 29-year-old Hector finished two runs down a course known as The Ice River at the Yanqing Alpine Skiing Center in an unofficial combined time of 1 minute, 55.69 seconds. She was quickest down the hill in the first run and an eighth-quickest second leg was enough for her to hold on.

Federica Brignone of Italy was 0.28 seconds slower over the two legs to add a silver medal to the bronze she won in the GS at the 2018 Pyeongchang Games behind champion Mikaela Shiffrin, who fell during Monday's opening run hours earlier and was eliminated.

American skiier Nina O'Brien crashes during the women's giant slalom. (Getty)

Lara Gut-Behrami of Switzerland was third, 0.72 behind Hector, and now has another bronze to go alongside the one she collected in the downhill at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

When Hector crossed the line, she raised her ski poles overhead and yelled to celebrate before being embraced by Brignone and Gut-Behrami.

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