See the most spectacular crashes of the Winter Olympics so far as medal hopes disappear in just one slip and a plume of snow
The Winter Olympics showcase the cream of the world’s athletes performing at the top of their game. But when things don’t go to plan, they also feature some catastrophic and spectacular crashes.American speedskater Jessica Smith lost her chance to compete in the 500-meter competition after taking a scary spill in the preliminary race on Monday. But she wasn’t the only one.Though the games are only a few days old, a number of skiers and skaters have already seen their hopes painfully disappear with a loss of footing and a sudden plume of ice or snow.
Head first: China’s Liu Zhongqing crashes embarrassingly during freestyle skiing aerials training
Skidding out: American speedskater Jessica Smith appears to have touched skates with a Russian competitor who was coming up behind her in a curve
Down: Australia’s enigmatic Dale Begg-Smith bowed out of his third Winter Games with a wipeout in the heats of the men’s freestyle skiing moguls
Flying powder: Kazakstan’s Baglan Inkarbek bites the snow during the freestyle skiing aerials
Collision course: Team USA’s Jocelyne Lamoureux (17) crashes into Switzerland’s goalie Florence Schelling (right) as Switzerland’s Laura Benz defends during the women’s preliminary round hockey game
Over and out: Australia’s Daniel Greig crashes in the first heat of the men’s 500-meter speedskating race at the Adler Arena Skating Center
Face down: Dmitriy Barmashov of Kazakhstan goes down head first in the Men’s Moguls Qualification
Smith, a 30-year-old Michigan native, was heading down the first straightaway into a curve when a Russian competitor came up from behind and the two appeared to touch skates.
While Smith said she doesn’t like falling, she admits there are rare occasions when you can’t avoid it.
‘You’ve just got to roll with the punches,’ Smith said. ‘It’s not the way I wanted to start out my Olympic Games, but it’s short track, and anything can happen.
Bump: Finland’s Jussi Penttala crashes during the men’s freestyle skiing moguls qualification round at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games
Long distance: A competitor crashes, right, during freestyle skiing aerials training at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park on Monday
On the rocks: Australia’s Daniel Greig ponders his fate after his crash
Unavoidable: Crashes are common in speed skating
Wipe out: Reclusive millionaire Dale Begg-Smith of Australia crashes out in the Men’s Moguls Qualification on day three of the 2014 Winter Olympics
More to come: Smith still has the 3000 meter race to compete in
Bye bye! Kazakhstan’s Dmitriy Barmashov crashes during the men’s freestyle skiing moguls qualification
‘I prepared myself to keep pressing forward, focus on my next event and stay after it,’ she added. Smith still has the 3,000 meter race to compete in.
But Smith wasn’t the only skater to take a rumble on the rink in Sochi today. Falls have become more and more common in the sport with mass-start races
Competitors now wear helmets to protect themselves in case of a fall, but they don’t protect the wearer from embarrassment.
Australia’s enigmatic Dale Begg-Smith bowed out of his third Winter Games with a wipeout in the heats of the men’s freestyle skiing moguls also on Monday.
Slip: Dmitriy Barmashov loses a ski in the crash
Caught on camera: Canada’s Mikael Kingsbury crashes as he competes during the men’s freestyle skiing moguls competition
Barrier: Jessica Smith of the United States crashes in a women’s 500m short track speedskating heat at the Iceberg Skating Palace
Slip up: Sanne van Kerkhod of the Netherlands slides on his back after a fall
Stomach first: Daniel Greig of Australia gets left in the dust after a slop in the 500 meter event
Wrong way: British skater Jack Whelbourne gets all turned around on the ice
Taken out: Han-Bin Lee of South Korea ends up face first on the ice after competing in the 1500 semifinal
Tripping forward: Netherland’s Stefan Groothuis slips and falls on the ice
Pushed to the side: China’s Shi Jingnan crashes out of the 1500m short track competition
The crash brought an end to a career that brought him Olympic gold and silver medals.
The 29-year-old Internet tycoon won the moguls for his adopted country in 2006 and silver in his birth city of Vancouver four years later before dropping off the radar for three years.
Smith left the public eye so completely that he was dubbed a recluse.
Returning to competition last year, he managed to qualify for Sochi with the help of an Australian winter sports program he joined with his brother after leaving Canada as a teenager.
Upset: Jack Whelbourne of Britain holds his foot after crashing out in the men’s 1500m short track speedskating final
Spectacular: Russia’s Sergei Volkov crashes during the men’s moguls qualifying
Oops: Hanna Huskova of Belarus crashes after a jump during freestyle skiing aerials training
Left behind: Australia’s Daniel Greig, left, crashes in the first heat of his men’s 500-meter speedskating race against Yuya Oikawa of Japan
On Monday, though, his dreams of a third Olympic medal came to an end at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park moguls run when he failed to execute a rotation in second qualifying and ended up face first into the slushy snow.
‘I just wasn’t feeling it tonight,’ he told reporters. ‘The snow was soft and I haven’t skied on soft snow for four years. I wasn’t feeling it, I just got a little bit off.
‘There wasn’t much I could do when I was on my face… I’m going to go and relax my neck a little, it’s a little bit stiff.’
It was a rare appearance before the media for millionaire Begg-Smith.
His reclusiveness – he lives mainly in the Cayman Islands – is more often than not linked to a highly lucrative Internet business he runs with his brother that was the driving force for his move to Australia.
Leaving the intensive Canadian winter sports program for Australia’s smaller operation would, he thought, allow him more time to focus on the business.
Disappointment: Greig’s face says it all after his crash
Pulling shapes: Mogul skiier Ville Miettunen of Finland crashes
Reports in Australia about the nature of the company resulted in him being nicknamed ‘Spam Man’ by local media, though, and it now looks likely that he will now depart the limelight for good.
A firm ‘No’ answered a query over whether he would compete again and he was similarly elusive about his future plans.
‘I’m an international man of mystery, I will keep you all guessing,’ he said. That said, he had no regrets about attempting the comeback.
‘When I first came back I didn’t know if I could ski at all,’ he said. ‘It was a desperate move to come back this year. I was looking for a miraculous performance.
‘It was fun coming back and I’m glad I went out on my own terms. I messed up.’
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