Ty Walker battling injuries ahead of slopestyle qualifying
American snowboarder Ty Walker is dealing with several injuries sustained in training this week, less than 24 hours before slopestyle qualifying is set to kickoff.
The 16-year-old noted in a blog post that she sustained injuries to her knee, elbow and heel during the first two days of practice.
The initial elbow and knee injuries occurred Monday on the rail section, which Walker said has been a bit problematic. "The course is pretty big," Walker wrote on her blog. "Not a lot of girls were hitting the jumps and the rail section is hard to get used to.
"I taco-ed the donkey rail on the first feature twice and managed to smash my knee (first try) and elbow (second try) on it pretty hard on the way down."
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Several riders voiced concerns over the safety of the course that day, prompting organizers to make adjustments to the course. "I was confident that they’d make the necessary changes to the course and I’d be ready to turn it up the next day," Walker wrote.
But even with course alterations, Walker added to the list of bumps and bruises the next day. Not only did she hit her knee and elbow once again after another crash on the rail feature, she also bruised her heel in a separate incident where she lost too much speed as she came up to the cannon feature.
"It was too late to stop and I rode up the cannon literally yelling, 'No, no, no, no!' before I fell 20 ft. to the uphill deck," she wrote.
On her blog, Walker posted a pic of herself getting treatment for her various ailments.
Unable to put weight on her heel when she woke up Wednesday, Walker opted to skip the third day of practice.
As of now, Walker is still planning to compete in Sochi. The good news for her: riders won't be eliminated until after the second round of competition. As long as she takes to the course for Thursday's qualifying round, she will automatically advance to Sunday's semifinal, giving her more time to heal up.
"The plan for tomorrow is to get an injection with a numbing agent in the morning and use the day for more practice," she wrote. "I’ll take my runs but keep it mellow, and then work on something better into the weekend that will get me into the finals on Sunday."
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Walker joins a list of notable riders on the injury report. On Monday, Torstein Horgmo broke his collarbone and will miss the Olympics. On Tuesday, Shaun White jammed his wrist and although he indiciated that it was “blown out of proportion,” he ultimately decided to withdraw from slopestyle, citing safety concerns. A gold medal favorite in men's slopestyle, Canadian Mark McMorris is riding with a fractured rib that he suffered recently at X Games.
Despite the injury, Walker is determined to make the most of her Olympic experience.
"I’m staying positive," she wrote. "Don’t get me wrong, it sucks that I’m all bruised-and-battered going into my Olympic event, but I’m not stressing or letting it get me down. I made it this far and I’m confident enough in my riding to know that I have the ability to push through and give it my all."