Sochi Olympics notes: Snowboarder Marika Enne injured in practice
Snowboarder Marika Enne of Finland, a 21-year-old with a history of concussions, hit her head during a slopestyle training session at Rosa Khutor Extreme Park on Tuesday, her coach said. 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.
Afterward, 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 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 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 those on the course after Horgmo’s run 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.”
— Lisa Dillman
Teaming up on ice
Ashley Wagner and Jeremy Abbott will do at least the short-program phase of the new team figure skating event, an individual close to the team who was not authorized to speak publicly told the Chicago Tribune.
USA Today reported Tuesday that Wagner and Abbott will be replaced by Gracie Gold and Jason Brown in the free skates. U.S. Figure Skating will announce the lineup Wednesday.
In ice dance, reigning world champions Meryl Davis and Charlie White are expected to do both phases. The same is expected in pairs with two-time U.S. champions Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir.
The team event begins Thursday with men’s and pairs short programs. It ends Sunday.
— Philip Hersh
Not issue oriented
The honorary mayor of the mountain village said Tuesday that the Games should not be used as a platform to protest about gay rights.
“For the spectators, it is more important who wins than whether he or her is homosexual or not,” said Svetlana Zhurova of Russia, a gold-medal speedskater at the 2006 Turin Games.
Gay rights have been an issue because of a Russian law that criminalizes “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations” in the presence of minors.
On Monday, International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach said athletes should be allowed to voice their opinions during news conferences. The Russian government has established a protest zone near the city.
Zhurova said: “I have never seen [this] at any Olympic Games, and I would call on the people who are going to protest that it doesn’t make sense.”
— David Wharton
‘Relocated,’ or euthanized?
An Olympic official has responded to new reports of stray dogs being euthanized at the Games, saying the animals are instead being “relocated.”
Animal activists protested last year when it was learned that the local Sochi government planned to catch and dispose of strays, which are common on the streets of this Black Sea resort.
At the time, authorities responded by promising to send the dogs to a shelter instead.
On Tuesday, Alexandra Kosterina, the head of communications for the Sochi organizing committee, questioned reports that dogs were being killed.
“There is a special service which catches the stray dogs and this [service] is the responsibility of the city administration,” Kosterina said. “As far as I know, they have a special shelter and they catch them and do medical examinations as to whether they are ill or not.”
— David Wharton
Go beyond the scoreboard
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