Sarah Burke Crash

January 20, 2012 by staff 

Sarah Burke Crash, Pioneering skier, tipped for a gold medal at the 2014 Winter Olympics, suffered brain damage in a crash at Park City, Utah,  A pioneering freestyle skier set for Olympic glory has died from injuries sustained in a training accident.

Sarah Burke, from Canada, was one of the greatest skiers of her generation, helping to bring freestyle events to the Winter Olympics and widely tipped to win a gold medal in the 2014 Games.

She suffered a serious accident on 11 January while training for the gravity-defying superpipe – an event that defined her career – at Park City in Utah. Her injuries were severe, with tests revealing she had suffered “irreversible damage to her brain”, a family spokeswoman said.

As a result of the fall the 29-year-old tore her vertebral artery, leading to severe bleeding on the brain. Her heart stopped, and despite CPR being administered at the scene, she was left with irreversible brain damage. She died, surrounded by her family and loved ones, on Thursday at the University of Utah hospital.

“Sarah passed away peacefully surrounded by those she loved. In accordance with Sarah’s wishes, her organs and tissues were donated to save the lives of others,” added the spokeswoman.

Peter Judge, chief executive of the Canadian Freestyle Ski Association, praised the impact Burke had made on the sports community. “Our hearts go out to Sarah’s husband, Rory, and her entire family. It’s difficult for us to imagine their pain and what they’re going through,” he said. “Sarah was certainly someone who lived life to the fullest and in doing so was a significant example to our community and far beyond,” Judge said. “She will be greatly missed by all of us at the CFSA and the entire ski community.”

Burke was the best-known athlete in her field, specialising in the extreme superpipe – a version of a traditional halfpipe with walls over five metres (16ft) high. She was named female action sports athlete of the year by the TV network ESPN in 2007 and was four-time Winter X Games champion. The skier also won five World Cups and a world championship and was credited for helping add the women’s ski halfpipe to the programme for Sochi 2014.

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