Skier Sarah Burke Dies

Pioneering athlete had been in coma after fall

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 19, 2012 4:32 PM CST

(Newser) – Sad news from the skiing world today: Pioneering freestyler Sarah Burke has died after a fall earlier this month in Utah, reports the Toronto Star. The 29-year-old Canadian had been in a coma for nine days since her crash during a training run at Park City Mountain. Burke, a four-time Winter X Games champion, was a huge figure in her sport and had been expected to contend for gold in the 2014 Olympics. If fact, she was a big reason the superpipe category had been added for the first time, notes AP.

Doctors say Burke suffered "irreversible damage" to the brain when she ruptured an artery in her fall. “She was just the kind of person who gave so much to the sport and transcended the sport in so many ways,” said the CEO of the Canadian Freestyle Ski Association. “She created a real significance as an athlete and as a representative of female athletes. (In) the greater realm, she'll be deeply missed.”

Sarah Burke in 2007.   (AP Photo/Evan Agostini, File)
In this 2008 file photo, Sarah Burke of Canada celebrates on the podium after winning the women's halfpipe freestyle title at the World Cup finals in Valmalenco, Italy.   (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino, File)
In a Jan. 28, 2010, photo, Sarah Burke of Canada reacts after failing to place in the top three finishers in the slopestyle skiing women's final at the Winter X Games at Buttermilk Mountain outside Aspen,...   (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)
Sarah Burke in 2009 after winning gold at the X Games.   (AP Photo/Nathan Bilow, File)
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