Snowboard run 'dangerous'
ROSA KHUTOR, RUSSIA
IT'S fast, furious, and threatening to present the Sochi Winter Olympics with its first major headache as the hunt for snowboarding gold gets under way today.
More than 240 athletes from 31 nations will launch themselves down the troubled track, which some had complained was too dangerous, forcing officials into a rapid tweak of the most challenging aspects of the run.
Norway's gold-medal favourite in slopestyle, Torstein Horgmo, had crashed in training and suffered a broken collarbone on Monday.
Other snowboarders to look out for in this Games include masters of the "triple cork" in the slopestyle event - three off-axis flips combined with three or four full spins - Canada's Mark McMorris, Maxence Parrot and Sebastien Toutant, as well as Staale Sandbech of Norway.
McMorris will ride through the pain barrier when he competes in Sochi after breaking a rib nearly two weeks ago.
"Just to get a shot at trying to do what I want to do is an important thing," he said.
American Shaun White, the halfpipe champion in Turin in 2006 and Vancouver in 2010, is looking for a record third gold in the discipline.
He faces stiff competition from Japanese teen Ayumu Hirano.