Finnish ski star Jon Sallinen was pushing hard for a successful run in halfpipe qualifying, but a mistake sent him flying out of control and into a camera operator
A freestyle skier’s hopes for the Winter Olympics were dashed with a horrific mistake that saw him fly off the halfpipe and crash into a nearby cameraman.
Jon Sallinen is said to have hoped to get through Thursday’s qualifying session unscathed so he can continue his quest for Beijing 2022 glory.
But an error in judgment saw it all go out the window and left the skier and cameraman in a heap after a dramatic crash.
Sallinen lost control just as he approached the lip of the halfpipe to attempt a trick, which caused him to lose control as he shot up into the air.
Instead of descending safely still inside the pipe, it hovered over the edge and knocked a camera out of the hands of its operator, who was sent stumbling into the snow.
Luckily, neither appeared to have sustained serious injury as the camera operator quickly got to his feet and Sallinen also got up to fall back into the pipe and complete his run.
The skier later blamed the error on snowy weather at Genting Snow Park.
“I didn’t even know if I was going to ski on my second run after my accident, hope the cameraman is okay, I landed right on top of him,” he said.
Sallinen did little better in his second run, leaving the judges completely impressed with a score of 18.50 that left him at the bottom of the standings.
This result meant he was not among the 12 skiers who qualified for the men’s final.
Qualifying went much better for Team GB’s Gus Kenworthy as he did enough to move into the bottom of the top 12.
The Briton would have feared the worst after a first run, which netted just 8.50 points, but a much better second attempt saw him score 70.75 to take on the challenge of Kiwi skier Ben Harrington.
“I could have done so much more. In my first race I crashed and then I really didn’t want to fall back so I decided to be a bit more conservative with my [second] run,” Kenworthy said.
“Unfortunately I didn’t write it as cleanly as I could have and the judges were rightly quite harsh on me, but it wasn’t the position I wanted to be in.
“I’m very grateful to have reached the final, and the final is a new day.”
Team GB also had some success in the women’s qualifier, as 19-year-old Zoe Atkin put in a strong performance to finish fourth and raise medal hopes in the women’s final.