Archive for the ‘Skeleton Luge’ Category


Lizzy Yarnold races to Olympic gold (Picture: Getty Images) Lizzy Yarnold races to Olympic gold (Picture: Getty Images)

Two years have passed since the unbelievable scenes of London 2012 graced our televisions, radios and newsprint, capturing a nation’s attention in a way many didn’t predict.

It is now 2014 and soon we shall close the curtain on the snowy spectacle of sporting success that has unfolded in Sochi.

Before bracing themselves for the downward slope or measuring up that crucial ‘hammer’ shot (I’m not talking about Paralympic DIY, we are all curling experts now), our Winter Paralympic team have been little known figures, very much like their summer counterparts before them.

As the most accomplished Winter Paralympic team ever deployed, their historic performance will, however, surely launch them into consciousness alongside newly-established household names, skeleton’s Lizzy Yarnold, snowboard slopestyle’s Jenny Jones and curling skipper Dave Murdoch, to name a few.

This interesting process of ‘unknown to known’ is something…

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Jacqueline Hernandez of the U.S. reacts on a stretcher after crashing during the women's snowboard cross qualification round at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games in Rosa Khutor February 16, 2014. REUTERS-Lucas Jackson
Jacqueline Hernandez of the U.S. is carried off the track in a stretcher after crashing during the women's snowboard cross qualification round at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games in Rosa Khutor February 16, 2014. REUTERS-Dylan Martinez
Jacqueline Hernandez of the U.S. is carried off the track after crashing during the women's snowboard cross qualification round at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games in Rosa Khutor February 16, 2014. REUTERS-Dylan Martinez

1 OF 4. Jacqueline Hernandez of the U.S. reacts on a stretcher after crashing during the women’s snowboard cross qualification round at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games in Rosa Khutor February 16, 2014.


(Reuters) – Two of the first six riders in Sunday’s opening snowboard cross seeding run were taken away on stretchers after falling heavily, causing concern a day after Russian freestyle skier Maria Komissarova was seriously injured on the same course.

Komissarova underwent more than six hours of spinal surgery at Krasnaya Polyana Hospital Number 8 on Saturday after breaking her back in a crash during training for the women’s ski cross at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park.

Norwegian Helene Olafsen was the first rider out and after one jump turned 180 degrees before landing on her back and shoulder.

There was a lengthy delay as she was tended to on the course but she appeared to be conscious as she was stretchered off the slope.

“Helene has torn the anterior cruciate ligament in her left knee,” Norway Olympic team doctor Ellen Moen said in a new release. She also has an injury to the ligament on the inside of the same knee, and a meniscus injury.

“She will most likely have to have an operation on the knee, but we cannot say anything more about it yet.”

American Jacqueline Hernandez, who went out sixth, was the second faller, hitting the slope with a thud as she tried to land backwards and appearing to lose consciousness as she smashed her head into the snow.

Again there was a delay as she received medical treatment but she had also recovered consciousness before she was taken away on the stretcher.

The U.S. team later said Hernandez had been treated in the medical tent where they ascertained she had suffered a concussion. She was withdrawn from the competition.

Italy‘s Michela Moioli later ruptured a cruciate ligament in her knee after a fall in the final and will return home to undergo surgery, the Italian Olympic Committee said on their website.


The International Olympic Committee said the courses had been approved by the federations, who are responsible for their respective fields of play.

“I know they are very happy with it,” IOC spokesman Mark Adams told reporters.

He said he had just been informed of the two incidents in the snowboarding competition but said there was “no huge cause for concern,” and they were unrelated to the Komissarova accident.

“The accident was in an individual practice. She (Komissarova) was actually in training by herself when the accident happened. So it is not actually the format or the course that is necessarily the problem.

“They (courses) did not appear to have any difference from Vancouver (2010 Olympics). The athletes are happy with the course,” he said.

Despite the two heavy falls on Sunday morning, American boarder Faye Gulini echoed Adams’s view that there was nothing wrong with the course.

“This is a great course, but it is intimidating,” she said after finishing fourth in the final.

“We don’t usually have courses that have jumps this big and it’s so much fun. But some girls don’t have this capability of hitting these huge jumps.

“This course is safe. It has big features which are intimidating looking, but it’s built right. So if you give this course all the speed you can it’s gonna work. If you do everything right you will be on your feet.

“For a lot of people, it was a mental thing.”

(Additional reporting by Karolos Grohmann and Philip O’Connor, Editing by Peter Rutherford)

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We are now halfway through the 2014 Sochi Olympics, and now is as good of a time to ever to ask: What will happen to the most expensive Olympic venue in history once the games are over?

Russia has poured $51 billion into transforming the tropical town of Sochi into a winter wonderland. It hopes to maintain much of the venue as a tourist resort, where people can check out the surrounding town and practice sports. But if previous Olympic venues are any indication, Sochi may fall into disuse very soon (the 1980 Moscow Olympic Village doesn’t look that great anymore either).

After all, it’s hard to maintain the high interest in winter sports once the Olympics are over. While skiing and skating are commonly popular sports, others such as luge and bobsled are niche interests that won’t fare as well once the spotlight is gone. If tourist interest cannot sustain their maintenance costs, these courses may well shut down.

An interesting predecessor to consider is Sarajevo. The 1984 Olympics in the former Yugoslavia was the last time that the Winter Games were held in Eastern Europe. Both luge and bobsled were popular at the time (with 20,000 spectators for luge and 30,000 for bobsled), and the track was actually used for a few years afterwards for World Cup competitions.

Image credit: Flickr



Image credit: Flickr

But once the Yugoslav wars broke out in 1991 and reached the city, the sports had to be suspended. During the Bosnian War and the Siege of Sarajevo, the track was heavily damaged by the conflict. In fact, it was even used as a defensive artillery position by the Bosnian Serbs, with guerrilla fighters turning it into trenches. (On a more grisly note, the medal podium was used as an execution site.)

Image credit: Flickr

Since then, the track has fallen into disuse and disrepair. But it has become an attraction for graffiti artists, who have been complementing the bullet holes with their artwork.



Image credit: Flickr

Image credit: Flickr

Image credit: Flickr



Image credit: Flickr

Image credit: Flickr

Image credit: Flickr

Now the former Olympic venue has become an urban attraction, where tourists can experience both the damage from conflict and the recovery and reappropriation of the land by artists. (But if you are planning on a visit, watch out — there may still be live land mines in the area.)



Image credit: Flickr

The rest of the Sarajevo Olympic venue has also turned into a spooky memorial to war and history. You can check out more photos here.

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Golden girl Lizzy Yarnold (Picture: Getty Images) Golden girl Lizzy Yarnold (Picture: Getty Images)

Rudman, Williams, Yarnold. We’re pretty good at skeleton, aren’t we?

But why? And why just the women? (Yes, I know our chaps did pretty well and are decent too…)

Well, thank goodness they are, because the moment that lit up the Winter Olympics for Team GB will without doubt be our Lizzy’s procession towards gold.

We may not win another gold at the Sochi Games; we may not win another medal, but, frankly, what were you expecting?

Winter sports are not our forte massively in Britain, and though we had plenty of medal hopes – James Woods, Katie Summerhayes, Zoe Gillings, and they’re just on the snow – we simply don’t have the right to expect Winter Olympic medals.

Unlike the summer Games, where we excel in certain events in athletics, rowing, cycling, sailing, I could go on.

Where are the facilities for…

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Before women’s skeleton hands out its Sochi Olympics medals, the men’s side will get their competition underway with two runs this morning at the Sanki Sliding Center. You can watch those runs LIVE on starting at 7:30 a.m. ET.

John Daly (pictured) is the most prominent of the three U.S. men and he’s had success already in Sochi, having finished fourth in a 2013 World Cup race there. But his teammate, Matt Antoine, enters the Games with lots of momentum after three World Cup podiums this season (including a win at Lake Placid).

Renaissance man Kyle Tress, who founded a iOS app development company with fellow racer Chris Nurre and has also written a young adult fantasy novel, completes the American trio.

They face stiff international competition at Sanki, including the odds-on favorite from Latvia, Martins Dukurs, who won silver four years ago at Vancouver.

Also in the…

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Here’s a look at the compelling events, athletes and storylines of the Sochi Olympics on Tuesday, Feb. 11. A complete list of every Tuesday event can be found here.


Women’s ski slopestyle final, 4 a.m. ET — CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE EVENT LIVE

Canada is favored in the Olympic debut of ski slopestyle with Kaya Turski and Dara Howell, who went one-two at the 2013 World Championships.

Turski won the Winter X Games in 2010, 2011 and 2012 and tore an ACL for the third time in August. She came back to win the 2014 Winter X Games in January. Howell was third and fourth at the last two X Games.

The top U.S. skier at this year’s X Games, Maggie Voisin, withdrew from the Olympics after breaking her fibula in training last week and was set to be the youngest U.S…

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Miss Snow It All

A look back at what made the news in the week leading up to the launch of the Sochi Games. The good, the bad and the down right hilarious. 

We’re off and running as all five, sorry four, rings lit up at the Opening Ceremony and the cauldron flame was finally lit.

Now we can get down to the business of competition after a week where #sochiproblems almost overtook #sochi2014 as the hashtag of the social media day and inspired the @sochiproblems twitter account.

The week started with the world’s media tweeting and posting bizarre and at times hilarious pics of their accommodation woes. One Russian official’s curve ball response was to claim he knows journos are trashing rooms because the Russians have surveillance cameras in each of them. Geez, spy much? That was rhetorical.

Though one Canadian journo went too far with his #sochiproblems and started bagging…

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