US Skier Nina O'Brien Carried Off Giant Slalom on a Stretcher After Horrific Crash

Devastating to watch, US skier Nina O'Brien suffered a scary crash on her second run of the giant slalom at the Beijing 2022 Olympics at the Yanqing National Alpine Skiing Centre on Monday. Going at top speed, the 24-year-old lost her balance, and her legs spread wide as she crashed into one of the gates and slid into the finish line. The audience gasped as O'Brien lay on the icy ground, clutching her left leg, with her foot visibly turned to the side. Doctors and emergency responders tended to her for almost 10 minutes before pulling her away on a stretcher.

The US Ski and Snowboard Team said on Twitter that O'Brien was "alert and responsive." They added, "She was worried about delaying the race. And also she wanted to know how fast she was skiing. What a trooper!" This was O'Brien's first time at the Olympics. She had finished with the sixth-fastest first run in the giant slalom, making her the best of all of the US women skiers.

USA's Nina O'Brien crashed after the second run of the women's giant slalom during the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games at the Yanqing National Alpine Skiing Centre in Yanqing on February 7, 2022. (Photo by Dimitar DILKOFF / AFP) (Photo by DIMITAR DILKOF
Getty | FABRICE COFFRINI
USA's Nina O'Brien (2nd L) is pulled away on a stretcher by medical staff after she crashed in the second run of the women's giant slalom during the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games at the Yanqing National Alpine Skiing Centre in Yanqing on February 7, 2
Getty | FABRICE COFFRINI

Fellow US skier Mikaela Shiffrin, who also experienced a crash on the giant slalom right before O'Brien fell that day, sent support to O'Brien over Instagram. She said, "We're so heartbroken for @nina_obrien . . . she showed so much heart and fire in her skiing today, and it all got shredded to pieces on the final turn. This sport . . . this sport is so damn hard. It's brutal, and it hurts- far more often than it ever feels good." She also said, "Today was one of the most turbulent days I have ever experienced."

Shiffrin said fellow skier Paula Moltzan kept saying, "it's not fair. That can't have just happened. It's not fair. And she's right. It's just sooo not even close to fair. The warrior that she is, she will get back stronger and speedier than ever, with the same upbeat and kind attitude that is trademark Nina. But tonight we're all just sad and crossing our fingers for the best news possible."