Yuto Totsuka taken off halfpipe course on stretcher after crash at 2018 Winter Olympics

Paul Myerberg  |  USA TODAY Sports

PYEONCHANG, South Korea — Several snowboarders fell during their first runs in the men’s halfpipe final, held here Wednesday morning, with one so severe it required a team of personnel to ski the fallen athlete off the slope for additional medical attention.

Japan’s Yuto Totsuka went too far beyond the edge of the pipe and hit the lip of the halfpipe before falling roughly 35 feet to the flat bottom, smacking to the snow and lying prone while a piece of his equipment slid down the track.

Totsuka sat up while several skiers raced down the pipe. In obvious pain and discomfort, he eventually moved himself onto a stretcher and was taken down the length of the track. From there, he was loaded onto a snowmobile and then an ambulance for further testing and evaluation.

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A representative from the Japanese team indicated that Totsuka was not severely injured in the crash.

The handful of slips — and the one major crash — come amid good conditions for the halfpipe, with overcast skies and temperatures slightly higher than has been the standard through the first days of competition at the Pyeonchang Games.

This is the first Olympic appearance for the 16-year-old, one of three Japanese snowboarders in competition. He posted four top-three finishes in the halfpipe during the 2017-18 season.

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