One snowboarder turned and quietly asked his coach who crashed on the dicey slopestyle course during a training session at Rosa Khutor Extreme Park on Tuesday.
This time, it was Marika Enne of Finland, a 21-year-old with a concussion history, and her coach said she hit her head. The injury came one day after a favorite on the men’s side, Torstein Horgmo of Norway, suffered a broken collarbone, putting him out of the Olympics.
Enne was taken away on a stretcher past reporters in the mixed zone.
Not long afterward, the snowboarders were downplaying the notion that the course was too dangerous, the serious injuries putting the new Olympic event in the spotlight. Organizers worked on the course after Monday’s accident and the athletes praised the changes.
“There’s no way this is too dangerous,” American Sage Kotsenburg said. “I mean, someone got hurt yesterday, Torstein. ... It’s a shame to see. It [stinks]. It could have happened to any one of us. He’s doing a trick I’ve seen him do 100 times on rails that are gnarlier than the one he did it on.”
Shaun White, the face of the sport, took a fall himself Tuesday. “So far I’m healthy and I’m all right,” he said in the mixed zone. “I twisted my wrist a little.”
On top of that, the two-time halfpipe gold medalist was one of the snowboarders on the course after Norgmo’s run on Monday, calling it, “definitely intimidating.”
“It’s interesting any time you step out on a course, there’s a certain amount of danger, a certain element of risk that you’re putting yourself in for,” White said. “I don’t know, maybe this course might have a little bit more than others. But we’re trying to figure it out. That’s what it’s all about.”
Before this latest run of injuries, the biggest question was about the readiness of Mark McMorris of Canada, who broke a rib at the X Games in Aspen late last month.
McMorris, another medal favorite, took part in training Tuesday for the first time since the crash. He rode on the mountain Monday but not on the course.
“I’ve been medically cleared, so it’s not going to get any worse,” he said. “Battling through the pain yesterday was kind of frustrating. I came up here today and it was way better. Way better. I was able to jump and start doing tricks again. My confidence level is back up.
“I feel like I’m in a good place, for breaking my ribs 10 days ago.”
White, meanwhile, conceded that the prospect of going after the double gold here in Sochi, in slopestyle and halfpipe, has been a significant challenge. But he’s managed to embrace his Olympic past in the midst of chasing history.
“It’s feels good,” White said. “I’m not going to lie. I just love the whole process. ... It’s an honor to be an Olympian. I didn’t realize that when I was younger, but I understand it now.
“I’ll never forget the first time I won the Olympics. I was 19 and I got to the bottom. Everyone’s crying. When your dad cries, it’s pretty intense. Yeah, ‘the dad cry.’ The happy cry.”