The 2014 Winter Olympics have definitely not been injury-free. Rowan Cheshire, the 18-year-old freestyle skier from Great Britain, took a bad fall Sunday during a training run at Russia’s Rosa Khutor Extreme Park. Cheshire’s accident was one of four at the park that day and another in a string of accidents that have happened during the 2014 WInter Olympics in Sochi.
Cheshire, who is one of the youngest members of her team, was training for the ski halfpipe when she crashed onto her face and was knocked unconscious for several minutes. She fell on the left side of the pipe and had to be taken out of the area on a stretcher. At first, she was taken to the athlete’s village at the top of the course and attended to by the medical team. After an initial assessment, it was decided that Cheshire should be evaluated at the hospital in Krasnaya Polyana a few miles down the mountain from the course.
Rowan Cheshire is due to make her debut in the 2014 Winter Olympics ski halfpipe this Thursday, provided she is deemed fit to compete by her doctors. In Calgary earlier this winter, Cheshire became the first British woman to win the halfpipe World Cup. A statement from the British Olympic Association said: “After examination by Team GB medical personnel it is confirmed that she has a concussion and, as a precaution, will stay at a local hospital overnight for further evaluation. She will be evaluated further during the coming days before a determination is made about her fitness to compete.”
Cheshire has talked about the dangers of the sport she loves, but says the excitement of pulling off gravity-defying tricks balances out the risks for her. In 2012, the dangers of ski halfpipe were underscored when Canadian Sarah Burke was killed during training for the 2014 Winter Olympics. Burke had been a loud voice in the push for the ski halfpipe to be included as an Olympic sport, and freestyle skiers who are competing in these games have thanked her for that legacy. Cheshire was part of the same Roski-sponsored team as Sarah Burke when Burke was killed. Of Burke’s death, Cheshire has said, “It really hit a lot of people because she was one of the main reasons why the sport is in the [2014 Winter] Olympics…because she was one of the main ambassadors.”