During the men’s halfpipe final on Wednesday, 16-year-old Japanese snowboarder Yuto Totsuka crashed into the upper lip of the halfpipe while performing his second run.
It was a violent crash and it left those in the crowd and the commentators watching speechless.
After the crash, Totsuka lay motionless on the ground and had to be stretchered off the course by medical staff.
It was a sombre moment in an otherwise exciting event. After the brief interlude, American snowboarder Shaun White later won the gold medal and Totsuka’s teammate, Ayumu Hirano won the silver.
Very little was said of Totsuka’s status during the event, other than that he had been evacuated from the mountain and taken to the nearest hospital.
Washington Post’s national sports reporter Adam Kilgore recently provided an update on Totsuka’s status with a tweet that said: “Quick update on Yuto Totsuka, the Japanese snowboarder who suffered a horrific crash yesterday: He was transported to a hospital for tests and a CT Scan. He has hip pain, but no broken bones. He’s back in the Olympic village.”
Time Magazine reached out to the Japanese Olympic Committee for comment on Totsuka’s status but has yet to receive a response.
Totsuka isn’t the only snowboarder to be stretchered off in the games so far.
Days before Totsuka’s crash, Canadian snowboarder Laurie Blouin suffered a similar fate and had to stretch off her events course during training.
Blouin’s injury didn’t stop her from competing, however, as she managed to come back and win Silver in women’s slopestyle.
Making matters more difficult for the athletes is the fact the weather has not been the best for the mountain-based events so far.
Dangerous winds have resulted in many events getting rescheduled.
One can only hope that the remaining week of the Olympic Winter Games is full of moments of glory and not moments of terror.
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