Olympics doubt for snowboard cross star Samková after double break
The Czech snowboard cross star Eva Samková suffered a major injury at the weekend, breaking both of her ankles during a competition in Austria. The question now is whether the popular sportswoman has any chance of making the Winter Olympics in Beijing in just two months’ time.
Eva Samková won a gold medal in snowboard cross at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi and bronze at PyeongChang four years later.
Her current “Olympic” season had started well, with a win in her opening World Cup event at the Chinese resort of Secret Garden.
In Friday’s individual race at Montafon in Austria, Samková didn’t get out of the heats, though the following day the 28-year-old demonstrated great skill in the mixed team race.
Shortly after taking over from her partner Jan Kubičík, she dropped to fourth place, before with two great maneuvers overtaking first Belle Brockhof of Australia and then Chloe Trespeuch of France to secure second spot.
However, in doing so the Czech’s board got stuck in the snow and both of her ankles snapped.
Jan Kubičík spoke to Czech Radio shortly after the horror injury.
“Eva was trying to achieve the best possible result and at the finish line the edge of her snowboard got stuck under her. Her ankles got caught. By the time I had run up to her, she was already in tears.”
National team coach Marek Jelínek later told the media that Samková had broken both her legs at the ankle, specifically in the tibia, or shinbone.
She underwent emergency surgery on Saturday evening at a clinic in Montafon, when screws were placed in both of her legs.
With the Winter Games in Beijing around the corner, the sporting director of the Czech Olympic Committee, Martin Doktor, said he had been informed about the snowboard cross star’s condition from the beginning and that he had been told that the operation had been a success.
On Monday morning Samková’s team released a much anticipated update on her condition, though it was far from definitive.
Tomáš Kraus is the sport star’s manager.
“I spoke to her just now and her mood is positive. The operation went well. Eva really wants to get home so she can undergo rehab, so we are discussing a move to Prague. It is too soon for any prognoses, but it will take at least a couple of weeks.”
In a message from hospital the three-time winner of snowboard cross’s World Cup said that sometimes it hurts when you want to be the fastest in the world.
Samková said she would see how the injury healed – and promised her fans she would fight.
However, the snowboard cross competition at the Winter Olympics takes place in just eight and a half weeks, on 9 February.
The star, who has legions of fans around the Czech Republic, really will have a battle to make that date.