Markus Schairer was in fourth position heading towards the penultimate jump of the first quarterfinal of men’s snowboard cross when something went wrong that caused his board to get out from under him. Schairer flailed in the air, then came down hard straight on his back, breaking his fifth cervical vertebrae. The Austrian Olympic Committee announced that he would return to Austria soon, and that initial tests showed no nerve damage. The 30-year-old Schairer somehow finished the run (though he was formally disqualified) despite this:
It’s not exactly clear what happened to Schairer, and it doesn’t look like he was tangled up with anyone before he took off:
In the medal race, Frenchman Pierre Vaultier took gold, while Nick Baumgartner and Mick Dierdorff just missed the podium, finishing fourth and fifth, respectively.