Skier Alex Bilodeau of Canada has a wild run at the Extreme Park at Rosa Khutor Mountain ahead of the Sochi Olympics, which begin on Thursday. (Cameron Spencer / Getty Images)
Krasnaya Polyana, Russia — The slopestyle course that drew complaints from some riders ahead of the Sochi Olympics is set to be modified after Norwegian medal hope Torstein Horgmo broke his collarbone in practice Monday and is out of the Winter Games.
The 26-year-old Horgmo landed heavily on his face and right shoulder while attempting a difficult trick on a rail near the top of the course and was taken to the athletes’ hospital here, said team manager Thomas Harstad.
Medical scans confirmed a fracture.
“Injuries and falls are part of this sport, but the timing is really bad,” Horgmo said.
Athletes had expressed concern about the steep jumps at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park course even before the official practice began Monday, days ahead of the first qualifying runs Thursday in the men’s slopestyle.
International ski federation official Roberto Moresi, the assistant snowboard race director at Sochi, said organizers had responded to feedback from the athletes and were trimming the tops and bottoms of some jumps at the top of the course “in order to make it more smooth.”
Moresi said the course wasn’t a factor in Horgmo’s crash, saying it happened because “he was just trying a really hard trick.”
Course designer Anders Forsell said the changes were minor.
“On a non-tested course, you’re always nervous, but it worked out fine,” he said of the reaction from athletes.
Riders discussed the course design at a meeting after the first practice session. Some thought some of the jumps were dangerous, but U.S. rider Sage Kotsenburg compared the jumps with those at the X Games.
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