Team USA skier Nina O’Brien suffered a frightening crash during her second Olympic giant slalom run on Monday.
O’Brien was coming toward the finish line when she hit one of the blue gates on the slope. Her skis split and she lost her balance before tumbling down the hill head over heels.
Medical staff, doctors and emergency responders came to O’Brien’s aid after she crossed the finish line. They tended to her for roughly 10 minutes before she was carried off the course and taken away for further evaluation.
The U.S. Ski and Snowboard team announced that O’Brien was “alert and responsive” after the crash. Additionally, a spokesperson for the team said that O’Brien’s concerns after crashing were more about the race than her injury.
“She is very tough and was calm,” the organization said, per the New York Post. “She’s a fighter. She was worried about delaying the race. And also she wanted to know how fast she was skiing.”
USA MEDAL COUNT: Tracking Team USA’s wins at Beijing Olympics
O’Brien’s crash was one of dozens on the giant slalom event, but hers was certainly the scariest. Several Olympians covered their eyes and mouths in shock after witnessing it, per Yahoo Sports. That included O’Brien’s teammate, two-time gold medalist Mikaela Shiffrin, who crashed out of the race on her first run earlier in the day.
Shiffrin penned a tribute to O’Brien, who had been in sixth place before her crash, on Twitter.
We are so heartbroken for Nina… she showed so much heart and fire in her skiing today, and it all got shredded to pieces on the final turn. This sport… this sport is SO damn hard. It’s brutal, and it hurts- far more often than it ever feels good. 🤍🙏 pic.twitter.com/9X9llLPVZ0
— Mikaela Shiffrin (@MikaelaShiffrin) February 7, 2022
O’Brien had said the hill was “in perfect shape” after her morning run and before her second, and final, run of the day.
Sweden’s Sara Hector took home the gold for the event, while Italy’s Federica Brignone took silver and Switzerland’s Lara Gut-Behrami bronze.