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Pioneering Freestyle Skier in Coma

Sarah Burke of Canada falls during training run
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 11, 2012 2:01 PM CST

(Newser) – A freestyle skier credited with helping get her sport included in the 2014 Winter Olympics is in a coma in Salt Lake City after a fall, reports the Toronto Globe and Mail. Canadian Sarah Burke, 29, fell yesterday during a training run at a Utah mountain resort. Burke has won gold four times at the Winter X Games in superpipe skiing, which the Salt Lake City Tribune says is similar to snowboarding's halfpipe, but on skis. She was a heavy favorite for Olympic gold in Russia in 2014.

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"She landed a trick down in the bottom end of the pipe, and kind of bounced, from her feet to her head," says the CEO of the Canadian Freestyle Ski Association. "It wasn’t anything that looked like a catastrophic fall, so I’m a bit mystified." The accident happened on the same halfpipe where snowboarder Kevin Pearce fell and suffered a brain injury in 2009. He is now back on the slopes. (Read more Sarah Burke stories.)

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