Freestyle Skiing

CBC Sports - Saturday Feb. 15, 2014 09:46 ET

Russian skier Maria Komissarova hurts spine in Sochi Olympics crash

Ski cross racer out of competition

Freestyle skier Maria Komissarova
Freestyle skier Maria Komissarova practices during a night training session (Mike Blake/Reuters)

Russian ski cross racer Maria Komissarova has been forced to withdraw from the Sochi Olympics after crashing during training and injuring her spine. She underwent six-and-a-half hours of spinal surgery on Saturday after breaking her back in a Sochi 2014 training crash.

 
Komissarova, 23,was training at the PSX Olympic ski cross venue at Rosa Khutor Extreme Park ahead of her event Friday. She was taken to Krasnaya Polyana Hospital Number 8, which was specially built for the Olympics, where doctors decided to operate.

"During one of her training runs, Maria injured her spine," team head of press Mikhail Verzhba said. "It is a serious injury.

The 23-year-old had a metal implant inserted and surgeons said they would not know how successful the operation had been for three or four days. 
 
Her condition was serious but she was in a stable condition, the Russia Freestyle Skiing Federation said, adding that she was likely to be taken to a Moscow hospital or go abroad for treatment when it was possible to move her.

Later, the Russian Freestyle Federation confirmed that Komissarova had been ruled out of competition.

Ski cross is a new Olympic event, in which teams of four skiers race each other at the same time down a course that features turns, jumps, drops and flat sections.

Her condition remains serious but she is stable, the Russia Freestyle Skiing Federation said, adding that she was likely to be taken to a Moscow hospital or abroad when it is possible to move her. Her mother, Maria, is due to arrive in Sochi tomorrow. 

Her mother, Maria, was due to arrive in Sochi on Sunday. 
 
President Vladimir Putin visited Komissarova on Saturday evening to wish her a rapid recovery and doctors briefed him on the surgery, the federation said. 
 
Komissarova told Putin her father was extremely worried, so the president called him to offer his assurances that the doctors were doing their best to help her make a full recovery, it added. 
 
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) said in a statement: "Our thoughts are with the athlete and the family". 
 
Komissarova suffered the injury during training at the PSX Olympic skicross venue at Rosa Khutor Extreme Park. She was taken to Krasnaya Polyana Hospital Number 8, which was specially built for the Olympics, where doctors decided to operate.

But Komissarova's crash had nothing to do with course conditions, according to Thomas Bach, the president of the International Olympic Committee. "The first information is that it was nothing to do with the infrastructure, the snow conditions. It was in a training session and this unfortunate incident happened.

"We will see how it goes, now our thoughts are with the athlete."

Komissarova is ranked 33rd in 2013-14 world cup standings.

With files from Reuters

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