Japanese snowboarder Yuto Totsuka has been injured during the men’s halfpipe final at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
16-year-old Totsuka was left motionless after crashing into the lip of the pipe. He had been trying to complete a complicated trick during the second of his three runs, and had gotten too much air.
Totsuka fell down the half pipe face first, an estimated 35 feet (10 metres), where horrified onlookers saw him lying still after seemingly landing on his pelvis.
Medical personnel attended to Totsuka at the scene and he was taken away by snowmobile to receive medical attention. He was able to sit up and was showing movement as he received treatment.
— Asphalt + Trail (@asphaltandtrail) February 14, 2018
USA Today reporter Rachel Axon has tweeted an update in regards to Totsuka’s condition, explaining the young athlete had been taken to hospital with hip pain for further testing.
According to Axon, the Japanese team’s press officer has advised the teenage snowboarder has not been seriously injured.
New York Times sports reporter John Branch has spoken about how the crowd had been ‘stunned into silence’ following the incident.
Other TV commentators have described the fall as being one of the worst they have ever seen, while Washington Post sports reporter Adam Kilgore described the scene as having been ‘scary’.
Japan’s press officer says Yuto Totsuka has “no big injury”but pain in his hip and was transported to the hospital.
— Rachel Axon (@RachelAxon) February 14, 2018
Scary crash for JPN’s Yuto Totsuka. Too far out of the pipe high up and hits the lip before falling to the flat bottom. So he fell probably 35ish feet and smacked the pipe in there. He sat up on his own but is coming down in the sled.
— Rachel Axon (@RachelAxon) February 14, 2018
Crowd stunned in silence as Japan's Yuto Totsuka is hurt in the halfpipe, about to be stretchered out. The Oly feed isn't showing anyone any replays.
— John Branch (@JohnBranchNYT) February 14, 2018
Scary scene at the halfpipe. Medics tending to Japan's Yuto Totsuka, who bounded off the lip and fell all the way down the pipe face-first. He was moving, but getting dragged off on a stretcher.
— Adam Kilgore (@AdamKilgoreWP) February 14, 2018
This is Totsuka’s very first appearance at the Winter Olympics, where he is one of three Japanese snowboarding competitors.
Yuko was the youngest person to compete in the men’s half pipe final.
According to the Japan Times, the teen won the Japan national championships back in March, before competing – and making the podium – in three World Cup events between September and January.
— Kit Ballesteros ? (@kit_ballesteros) February 14, 2018
I hope Yuto Totsuka is okay. That crash got my heart rushing ?#olympics2018
— Kyle M. (@w_aterfield) February 14, 2018
The young snowboarder has become well known for his ‘fearless style’ according to The Washington Post, often opening runs by attempting more complex tricks which other athletes might hold off on.
Senior Editor at Fansided Michelle Bruton tweeted:
Heartbroken for Yuto Totsuka. What these snowboarders put on the line for a chance to medal is truly unbelievable.
Hoping he has a quick recovery and can keep competing if that’s what he wants. As we’ve seen with so many others, huge crashes at this level can get in your head.
After a brief delay of several minutes, the event continued. American Shaun White took the gold medal, Ayumu Hirano won silver and Australian Scotty James was awarded bronze.
Heartbroken for Yuto Totsuka. What these snowboarders put on the line for a chance to medal is truly unbelievable. Hoping he has a quick recovery and can keep competing if that’s what he wants. As we’ve seen with so many others, huge crashes at this level can get in your head.
— Michelle Bruton (@Michelle_NFL) February 14, 2018
? ? ?
That is a MASSIVE slam from #JPN Yuto Totsuka!
— 7Olympics (@7olympics) February 14, 2018
The halfpipe is regarded of one of the more dangerous events of the Winter Olympics, with snowboarders attaining huge heights during their initial tricks.
This incident comes after 25-year-old Russian skier Pavel Trikhichev was taken to hospital after experiencing a horrific crash at a Winter Olympics event which had been delayed due to poor weather conditions.
Fortunately, Trikhichev came away with just a few cuts and bruises. However, he was unable to participate in the next event.
You can watch Trikhichev’s terrifying crash below:
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We wish Yuto Totsuka all the very best for a full recovery.
Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.