High winds have disrupted the opening days of the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang and today Russian skier Pavel Trikhichev showed how dangerous the conditions can be as he suffered a horror crash during the men's alpine combined downhill event.
The skier, who was competing for the Olympic Athletes from Russia, shocked spectators when he dramatically lost control on one of the turns and went hurtling through the air with his limbs akimbo and safety in peril.
As you can see in the video further down the page, one of his skis snapped as he crashed into the snow and then slid helplessly down the treacherous slope, banging his head along the way before getting entangled in the netting that lined the downhill route.
The event was delayed by 17 minutes as the medical team rushed to treat the injured skier and although the 25-year-old was brought to hospital, he miraculously escaped the horrifying ordeal with just some minor cuts and bruises.
Deputy head coach of the Russian skiers Anastasia Popkova confirmed Trikhichev had been remarkably fortunate.
She said: "There are several bruises, he was sent to the hospital. Now the examination is underway."
Marcel Hirscher of Austria eventually won the Alpine combined event, the first career Olympic gold medal for one of skiing’s greats.
The winner of six World cup titles and four world championship golds came back from 12th position after the downhill to claim gold with a blistering run in the slalom to take the gold by 0.23 seconds from Alexis Pinturault of France, with fellow Frenchman Victor Muffat-Jeande taking the bronze.
Nevertheless, Trikichev's spectacular crash highlighted the dangerous conditions that the athletes are experiencing on the slopes so far in these Games and a stark reminder of the perilous nature of downhill skiing.
Every time they leave the starting gate, the downhill racers are grimly aware of the potential risks that await them.
Thankfully for Trinkichev, his sickening tumble down the slopes will just become a mere highlight reel as he nurses nothing more serious than a bruised ego.
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