The R-Sport news agency reported that Russian Olympic freestyle athlete Maria Komissarova suffered a spinal fracture with dislocation in an incident during practice on the ski cross course at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park Saturday (Feb. 15). Komissarova underwent “urgent surgery” in Krasnaya Polyana due to the severity of the injury which did not allow time for transport to Moscow following a crash while exiting the third jump on course.
Russia’s ski federation released a statement in which they did not initially disclose the nature of the injury, but did describe it as serious.
“Maria Komissarova received a serious injury today during training. She was urgently taken to hospital,” the federation said. “Doctors undertook the necessary examination and took the decision to operate on the athlete on site.” The federation did say that Komissarova would no longer be able to compete at the Olympics, and a spokesperson later confirmed that she has undergone a successful 6 1/2-hour surgery to repair a fractured 12th dorsal vertebrae in her lower-middle back.
Although 23-year-old Komissarova finished second in the 2012 Grindelwald World Cup (coincidentally on the same day that Canadian ski cross athlete Nik Zoricic lost his life following a horrific crash at the finish line), she was not considered to be a medal contender at the Sochi Olympic Games. Komissarova had to fight back from a leg injury suffered early in 2013 that kept her off snow for six months just to qualify for the Olympics. Her best result in the current season is a 16th-place finish. Still, she was the first Russian woman in history to stand on a World Cup podium in the sport of ski cross and would have been a home crowd favorite in the event.
Prior to competing as a ski cross athlete, Komissarova was a Europa Cup alpine racer who had two top-10 results from that circuit as well as three top-10 results from the 2011 Russian national championships.