A horror crash by US luger Emily Sweeney has sent a scare through the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang.
One day after the anniversary of the death of Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili, who died in a training accident before the Vancouver opening ceremony, Sweeney lost control and bounced off the sides of the track before losing her sled and hammering into a wall.
The 24-year-old lay motionless for a few moments before being helped off the track by medical staff and the final run was suspended for about 10 minutes.
After a long inspection by trainers, she got to her feet and walked groggily away, raising a cheer from spectators and relieved clapping from team mates down at the finish, before she was transported to the Olympic village medical clinic.
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"I’ve never been so relieved than when I saw her getting up and walking," said American teammate Summer Britcher.
Sweeney's parents were understandably distressed in aftermath of the crash, waiting nervously to hear her condition.
Thankfully USA Luge revealed Sweeney had no broken bores, and was just sore after the horror crash.
"During her final run in tonight’s women’s Olympic competition, Emily Sweeney had an accident in curve 12 after difficulties in curves eight and nine, which has challenged the world’s best competitors since the track’s opening," USA Luge said.
"Emily was picked up and brought to the finish building where an initial examination was given by the medical staff. It was determined that, while feeling bruised and sore, she was OK.
"Following the examination, Emily felt it was important to walk down to the ‘mixed zone’ where athletes interface with the media and talk with NBC’s Lewis Johnson. She wanted everyone to see that she was up and able to move about on her own.
"Since it was a heavy crash and she was feeling sore, a decision was made to bring Emily to the Olympic Village clinic for evaluation."
GERMANY GRAB ANOTHER GOLD
German luge queen Natalie Geisenberger defended her Olympic gold medal in the women's singles in style on Tuesday as her nation extended its stranglehold over the event to 20 years.
The 30-year-old policewoman roared home to victory ahead of silver medal-winning compatriot Dajana Eitberger, claiming her third Olympic title with a flawless pair of runs at Pyeongchang's Olympic Sliding Centre.
Canada's Alex Gough grabbed a nerve-jangling bronze, banishing the heartbreak of two fourth place finishes at Sochi.
The German one-two returned the smiles to the faces of the luge superpower's camp, which was crestfallen on Sunday after defending men's champion Felix Loch crashed out of the medals with a horror final run.
Geisenberger's fourth Olympic medal overall cemented her place as luge's most decorated woman and she shrieked with joy after crossing the finish of the fourth and final run with an aggregate time of three minutes and 5.232 seconds.
"You could see with Loch, a very small mistake could have very serious consequences," the blonde Munich native told reporters after finishing a yawning 0.367 seconds ahead of Eitberger.
"For me it was a real wake-up call. It brought back to my mind that the race is finished only when you go through the finish line on the fourth run and not earlier."
Overnight leader after Monday's opening runs, Geisenberger built on her slender lead with a blazing third run of 46.28 seconds, piloting her sled with model German efficiency.
As a statement, it was almost as loud as the rowdy finish-line terrace, and none came close to answering it.
Second overnight, Eitberger's challenge stumbled with a bumpy third ride but German Vancouver champion Tatjana Huefner gave Geisenberger something to think about.
The 34-year-old veteran strapped on her helmet with a face of thunder before firing down the track to slot in just behind Geisenberger ahead of the final run.
There was still a mountain to climb, however, and it was Eitberger rather than Huefner who threw caution to the wind to soar into the gold medal position ahead of Geisenberger's finale.
It did precisely nothing to rattle the champion who romped to victory with fire in her eyes, her nation's sixth consecutive gold in the event dating back to the 1998 Nagano Games.
Sochi bronze medallist Erin Hamlin, the United States' first Olympic medal winner in luge, bowed out with a sixth-place finish in her fourth and final Games.