US Olympic Skier Survives Horrifying Crash During Second Run
22:32 GMT 07.02.2022 (Updated: 18:44 GMT 19.10.2022)
Nina O'Brien's chance to win a medal in the giant slalom, an alpine skiing discipline, was dashed when the US Olympic skier clipped one of the two final gates in her run. The horrific crash sent her hurtling down the snowy slope with her poles and skis askew.
Medical personnel attended to O'Brien for nearly ten minutes before she was stretchered off the bottom of the hill. It is reportedly believed that she suffered a leg injury after her leg was seen bent at an awkward angle. Her competitors looked on with shock and concern after they saw her crash.
A US ski team spokesperson said O'Brien was alert and responsive. "She's a fighter. She was worried about delaying the race. And also she wanted to know how fast she was skiing".
The 24-year-old was in sixth place after her opening run, but Swedish skier Sara Hector walked away with the event's gold medal. Hector, who is 29 years old, has competed at six World Championships, winning her first World Cup in 2014 for giant slalom in Austria.
O'Brien apparently had "no idea" when she crashed that many other skiers also failed to finish. Her teammate Mikaela Shiffrin, the 26-year-old two-time Olympic Gold Medalist and three-time world champion in slalom, ended her race just seconds after it started when she crashed, leading to her disqualification.
The Olympians have now entered day three of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, which have proceeded despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, as well as a major backlash by human rights groups in response to China's alleged genocide of the Uyghur people and other majority-Muslim ethnic groups in the northwestern region of Xinjiang.
It is believed by human rights groups that China has imprisoned more than 1 million Uyghurs against their will in what the Chinese government has referred to as "re-education camps". Evidence allegedly suggests Uyghurs are suffering from forced labour, sexual abuse, torture, and that Uyghur women are being forcibly sterilised.
The US did not send an official delegation of dignitaries to the Winter Olympics following its diplomatic boycott in response to China's alleged human rights violations, specifically citing the "ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang".
White House press secretary Jen Psaki offered her support for the American athletes competing in the 2022 Games during Monday's press briefing. "We wanted to note Team USA has our full support".
"We're behind them, we're watching from home, we want to thank them and their families for everything they have sacrificed over the course of time", Psaki said, while noting the purported human rights violations in China.
It was also reported that CNN's signal was briefly blocked in China when Selina Wang made a move to report on the swirling controversy concerning Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai. The former Olympian had accused Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli, a retired Chinese Communist Party official, of coercing her into sex.
That accusation made by Peng was also immediately deleted from Weibo, China's Twitter-like social media platform. The accusation is being seen as a #MeToo movement attempt that has been subsequently blocked and swept under the rug by the Chinese government.
The International Olympics Committee has also suffered criticism from international human rights groups for their handling of the situation, in which it is believed that they assisted the Chinese government in their efforts to silence Peng.