Sochi course termed too dangerous

Winter Olympic Games

Sochi course termed too dangerous

Norwegian gold medal hopeful ruled out after crash during training

Norwegian slopestyle snowboarder Torstein Horgmo, one of the Olympic gold medal favourites, was ruled out of the Winter Olympics with a broken collarbone after crashing during training on Monday on a course widely condemned as too dangerous.

The 26-year-old crashed on the rail feature of the slopestyle course at Rosa Khutor Extreme Park, Norway’s team manager Thomas Harstad confirmed.“He landed on his face and his right shoulder,” said Harstad. Horgmo’s accident follows a stream of criticism from competitors over the safety standards of the course.

“I saw that he fell over the rail and trashed pretty hard. He tried a really hard trick (switch hardway backside 270) — probably the hardest trick you’ll see all day. He was transferring from one jump to another rail,” said Norwegian team-mate Staale Sandbech.After the accident, Horgmo was placed in tarpaulin and carried down the course by several medical staff to the medical tent. He was seen flexing his hands as he was taken in for an examination. 

It was later revealed that Horgmo had in fact broken his collorbone and will miss out on the Games. "It is of course very sad that this happened. Falling is part of our sport, but the timing is terribly bad," Horgmo later said in a statement. "Now I just want to recover quickly, get back on the board and have fun again."

Ireland snowboarder Seamus O’Connor, who was out training at the same time as Horgmo, said he anticipated there would be injuries. “The course needs some work. They overbuilt the jumps because they were anticipating that the snow would melt,” said O’Connor. “At the moment the riders are not happy. The rails up top are too close. “The riders need to speak up about the conditions. The rails can’t be fixed but they can fix the jumps.”

On Sunday, Australia’s Torah Bright, who is attempting a snowboard treble at Sochi, said she was concerned that the leading experts in course construction were not being employed to oversee the work. “I do know that concerning pipe and slopestyle, the business’s best aren’t here building the course,” said Bright.

“When jumps aren’t built properly, if they don’t match up, yeah it can be a safety issue. But as long as the jumps are built fine, we’re all very experienced in our chosen disciplines, we’ll be able to manage it. It really shouldn’t be a problem.”

Anti-doping measures

Toughest anti-doping programme will be in place at Sochi, International Olympic Committee (IOC) communications director Mark Adams said. The IOC executive board met with officials from Sochi 2014 and World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) on Sunday to discuss updates on hosting a “clean Games”, reports Xinhua.  “There will be 2,453 tests carried out in total with 1,269 being carried out pre-competition, which is a 57 percent increase from the (2010) Vancouver Olympics.”

There were 2,149 tests carried out for the Vancouver Games, 14 percent less than the total tests to be carried out in Sochi. For Sochi, 1,184 post-competition tests will be carried out with a focus on “higher risk” sports and team sports including ice hockey.A total of 1,944 urine and 509 blood tests will be carried out in Sochi. There will be 572 extra tests done for urine EPO detection.

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