'Awful to see': Winter Olympics rocked by 'sickening' scenes

·Sports Editor
·4-min read
Rina Yoshika, pictured here after she injured her spine in a training crash at the Winter Olympics.
Rina Yoshika injured her spine in a training crash at the Winter Olympics. Image: Getty

The Winter Olympics was rocked by awful scenes on Thursday when two stars suffered serious injuries and were ruled out for the rest of the Games.

Japanese snowboarder Rina Yoshika injured her back in a training crash and will not be able to compete in the slopestyle contest.

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The World No.12 fell hard on a jump during a practice session on Thursday.

Medical staff immediately rushed to help her, and took about 20 minutes to stabilise her and put her in a sled to take her down the hill.

Japanese Olympic officials said the 22-year-old suffered a spinal injury but was not paralysed.

Rina Yoshika, pictured here being taken off the course by medical personnel after crashing during a slopestyle training session.
Rina Yoshika is taken off the course by medical personnel after crashing during a slopestyle training session. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

They said she will return home after receiving treatment for her injuries.

Yoshika's injury came after American ice hockey star Brianna Decker suffered a serious leg injury in their 5-2 win over Finland.

Decker cried out in agony after being tripped from behind by Ronja Savolainen just 9:32 into the first period.

Savolainen hooked her leg around Decker’s and the two fell awkwardly to the ice, with the Finland player landing on top of Decker.

Decker yelled as she was being tended to by a team doctor, and the veteran forward was unable to put any weight on her left leg as she was loaded onto a stretcher.

The sight of the team’s assistant captain and 11-year veteran unable to put weight on her left leg provided a motivating spark to the defending Olympic gold medalists.

Amanda Kessel and Alex Carpenter scored twice over the next 3 1/2 minutes in the Group A match.

Kendall Coyne Schofield then put the win away with two goals in 64 seconds in the second.

“There’s no replacing Brianna Decker,” said Schofield, the team's captain.

“But in that situation, everyone stepped up to the plate in the way they were asked to.

"And I think that’s how we were successful tonight.

“I just told her, 'We got this'. No matter what she’s a big part of this group.

"You saw that in our response after she went down, how much we picked up the game and took control.”

Brianna Decker, pictured here after being injured during the USA's ice hockey clash with Finland at the Winter Olympics.
Brianna Decker goes down injured during the USA's ice hockey clash with Finland at the Winter Olympics.. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Winter Olympics rocked by 'sickening' scenes

Kessel said of Decker screaming in agony: “It was sickening.

“She’s one of the toughest players that I’ve ever played with or against, so you know she’s not staying down on the ice or crying when it’s not bad.

"So it’s definitely a gut punch. We want to win for her.”

US coach Joel Johnson said he wasn’t going to dispute the official’s decision not to penalise Savolainen, who appeared to slew-foot Decker from behind.

“They saw it as just people getting tangled up,” Johnson said.

“I’m biased, and so I saw it a little differently. But I don’t think it was a missed call by any means.”

Savolainen said she wasn’t sure what happened, and called it “an unlucky situation” while sharing what she told Decker following the game.

“I just ask how she’s feeling, and then I said, 'Sorry.' Like, I didn’t want to hurt her,” she said.

with Associated Press

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