Winter Olympics rocked by New Zealand skier's 'horrific' crash

Ben Harrington, pictured here after a scary crash at the Winter Olympics.
Ben Harrington was involved in a scary crash at the Winter Olympics. Image: Channel 7/Getty

The Winter Olympics were rocked by frightening scenes on Thursday when Kiwi skier Ben Harrington smashed his head and neck on the rim of the halfpipe.

The 20-year-old was in his second run of qualifying in the men's freeski halfpipe when one of his tricks went horribly wrong.

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Harrington's take-off for the trick attempt wasn't quite right and he came plummeting down onto the lip of the halfpipe head first.

The Kiwi smashed his head and neck in frightening scenes before sliding down the wall of the halfpipe and lying motionless for a number of seconds.

"Oh no!" one commentator said on Channel 7 after audibly gasping.

The commentators then went eerily silent as onlookers rushed out to Harrington's aid, with spectators in visible shock.

Remarkably, Harrington managed to walk away from the accident unscathed after a number of hairy minutes.

”Thank you everyone," he said as he left the course.

Mitch Tomlinson said on Channel 7: “Ben Harrington just had all our hearts in our mouths then.

“That fall was insane. To be walking away from that (I am stunned). We are so glad that our Kiwi brother is alright after that fall.”

Ben Harrington, pictured here after crashing out during the men's freeski halfpipe qualification.
Ben Harrington walks away after crashing out during the men's freeski halfpipe qualification. (Photo By Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Kiwi teammate Nico Porteous was making his rounds of post-qualifying interviews when he suddenly realised Harrington had crashed.

Porteous jumped over barriers to run out to the halfpipe and check on Harrington.

“That's the worst thing that can ever happen, seeing your teammate and friend go down,” said Porteous, who was second in qualifying.

Harrington finished the day in 13th - one spot behind Gus Kenworthy, who got the last place in the final.

“It's all right. The body is OK,” Harrington said. “I'm just bummed more than anything."

Told that Porteous quickly ran out to check on him, Harrington got a little choked up.

“We’re all boys,” he said. “We’re all good homies and stuff.”

Fans were also left in a state of shock on social media.

Scary scenes in dramatic halfpipe qualifying

The halfpipe qualifying session was littered with scary crashes on Thursday.

Jon Sallinen of Finland drifted out of the halfpipe and collided with a cameraman in extraordinary scenes.

The 21-year-old picked himself up and tried it again in run No. 2 - only to fall once more and have to make the walk up the pipe to retrieve one of his ski poles.

Sallinen’s wrecks during the qualifying round gave the day's leader, Aaron Blunck, flashbacks to his own crash in the halfpipe 16 months ago, when he broke six ribs, fractured his pelvis, lacerated his kidney and bruised his heart by landing on the pipe's cold, unforgiving edge.

Jon Sallinen, pictured here crashing into a cameraman at the Winter Olympics.
Jon Sallinen crashes into a cameraman at the Winter Olympics. (Photo by BEN STANSALL/AFP via Getty Images)

“I cringed on the inside,” explained Blunck, who was one of four Americans to make it to Saturday's final.

“I get PTSD a little bit of just like, ‘Oh.’"

It was a scary run-in with the cameraman for Sallinen. As he was exiting his second-to-last jump, he landed low and wasn't ready to go into the next wall that fast.

He looked up, his ski caught and he couldn't get off the wall. It sent him straight over the edge and into the snapper.

“Sometimes if you mess up the takeoff like I did right there, that’s the worst outcome,” Sallinen explained.

“I was lucky not to land on my head and then maybe get a little cushion from the camera guy. ... I hope he’s all good.

"At the same time, I landed straight on my collarbone and I felt some movement, heard some cracking in there. I hope it’s not broken, but it’s really painful right now.”

with agencies

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