Springer Lewis Irving’s season is over. The Beijing mixed event Olympic medalist broke her femur in a training jump ahead of the Deer Valley World Cup on Wednesday.
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Irving has had surgery and is back at the hotel with his teammates. He will return to Quebec with the national team as planned on Saturday, where the rehabilitation process will begin.
“He took it seriously,” imagined the coach of the next-gen team, Nicolas Fontaine. Preparing for a triple backflip, he keeled over and didn’t have time to recover before the jump. He had too much rotation and he fell badly. He also fractured two ribs and injured his face.
A former athlete and coach since 2005, Fontaine has seen it all throughout his career, but the sport has become safer since 2010, he says. “It’s been fifteen years since I saw an accident like this,” he said, “but it’s still an extreme sport. The youngsters have better technique than us and the sport is safer now. The jumps are also better done.
“Back then there was a major injury every two weeks when I was chasing the 1992 Albertville Games silver medalist. I remember a 1994 competition in Colorado when four or five jumpers were found in the hospital. However, the conditions were extreme.
This time the conditions are not to blame. “Conditions were good and it’s bad luck,” he said. Park City’s terrain is beautiful, but it’s faster than the relay where we train.
Fontaine couldn’t believe his eyes when he saw Irving back at the hotel the day after the surgery. “They put a screw in his leg and he was able to walk on it two hours after the surgery. He’s back on the team and his morale is super good. I’m surprised his morale is so good. He told us his ribs hurt more than his leg.
Irving’s accident shook his teammates. “It’s not easy for our youngsters because Lewis is the leader of the team. It was a cold water shower. They continued to train by playing doubles instead of threes. It’s tough on morale and confidence. They did well today (yesterday) but morale wasn’t 100 percent. It will be back to normal on the day of the competition.