Del Bosco OK after scary crash in Olympic ski cross
Steamboat Pilot & Today
BONGPYEONG, South Korea — Skiers weighed in ahead of Wednesday, Feb. 21’s ski cross men’s event at Phoenix Snow Park at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, asking that the course be toned down just a bit.
Skiers can get going a little faster than their snowboard cross brethren on the course, can fly a little bigger on jumps and, in turn, land a little harder. Organizers agreed, but even dialed down a notch the Olympic ski cross course still had teeth.
Wednesday, it bit down hard on American-born, Vail-based Canadian skier Chris Del Bosco.
Del Bosco took a tough crash during qualifying and hesitated at that same spot for just a moment during his first heat of the bracketed final. That threw him off his rhythm. He couldn’t press into the snow where he needed to. He couldn’t navigate when he had to and he wasn’t prepared for a jump on the course so steep and sever riders called it the quarterpipe.
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It launched Del Bosco high into the air, not an unusual sight at the venue, which has played host to freestyle skiing events throughout the Olympics, but this wasn’t that kind of freestyle event.
Del Bosco landed hard on the snow in the valley between two of the line of huge jumps that lead to the finish and his Olympics was over as he was slid away in a ski patrol sled.
Off to the hospital
“He’s been choppered to a hospital just to get checked,” Canadian coach Stanley Hayer said. “Everything, all vitals, were good, nothing really major so we’ll see what happens.”
CBC Sports reported that Del Bosco was in stable condition with a suspected pelvis injury.
Heather Centurioni, Del Bosco’s older sister, wrote on Facebook on Wednesday afternoon from Texas, “It’s morning in South Korea. No real update. Chris is stable and resting. They are waiting for more information. The (Canadian Olympic Committee) ortho physician will see him today. He’s an incredibly quiet, private person and hates a fuss. He told me not to stress and s— happens. I knew that’s what he’d tell me.”
Del Bosco, 35, was competing in his third Olympics, trying to better his best result there, from the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, British Columbia. He placed fourth that day, but was 17th in 2014 in Sochi, Russia, failing to get out of the first round, then 31st Wednesday in South Korea, the last-place qualifier after that crash during training.
“He had a crash there today in the seeding run. I think he held back a little bit and got two guys by him so he got a little antsy forgot where he was between turns six and seven, did a single instead of a double,” Hayer said. “Then he got back in the draft and I think he would have blown by them. He has the fastest skis in the world but he missed his press and he got squished.”
Translated from skier talk: He needed to hug through a small awkward feature about midway down the course. He overshot it just a little, then rocked back on his skis as he hit that quarterpipe, which launched him to the moon.
“I think he might have won aerials,” Hayer said.
Sadly for Del Bosco, there were no judges scoring in this run.
He did offer a thumbs up as he was pulled away by ski patrol.
As Del Bosco was flown to the hospital, it was a banner day for his teammates. The three other Canadians entered all advanced to the semifinals and two made the gold-medal final where Canada’s Brady Leman won gold. Kevin Drury crashed early on the course and lost a ski, an automatic disqualification, and place fourth.
Swiss skier Marc Bischofberger took silver and Russia’s Sergey Ridzik bronze.
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It’s fitting that Eagle County is proceeding through its reopening phases of COVID-19 in an analogy to ski run difficulties — green to blue to black. Monday marks the transition from the green beginner phase to the blue intermediate phase.