Russian skier breaks back in Sochi skicross training accident

Three competitors take a jump in close quarters during the women's skicross World Cup final last month at Val Thorens in the French Alps.
(Philippe Desmazes / AFP / Getty Images)

SOCHI, Russia -- Freestyler skier Maria Komissarova of Russia is recovering after a 6 1/2-hour surgery following a training accident at Rosa Khutor Extreme Park on Saturday while preparing for the Sochi Olympics women’s skicross event next week, according to Russian officials.

Komissarova crashed at the end of a series of three jumps near the top of the 1,200-meter course, according to Jenny Wiedeke, spokeswoman for the International Ski Federation.

“The operation is over … it’s been successful,” said Mikhail Verzeba, a Russian ski federation official who told the Associated Press that Komissarova fractured the 12th dorsal vertebrae in her lower-middle back.


The Russian news agency R-Sport first reported the accident earlier Saturday.

Komissarova, a 23-year-old based in St. Petersburg, is currently ranked 33rd in the world and had her best performance on the World Cup circuit this season with a 13th place at an event in Italy. She had a major breakthrough in 2012 when she became the first Russian woman to win a World Cup medal in skicross by placing second at Grindelwald, Switzerland.

The former alpine skier missed six months of action in early 2013 because of an injured leg.

Three American women were unable to compete in their events at the Olympics because of training accidents.

Moguls skier Heidi Kloser broke her leg in practice and marched in the opening ceremony on crutches, freestyle skier Maggie Voisin pulled out of her slopestyle event after she injured an ankle and snowboarder Arielle Gold injured a shoulder shortly before the halfpipe event.



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Associated Press contributed to this report.