ROSA KHUTOR, Russia (Reuters) - Norwegian snowboarder Torstein Horgmo has every reason to feel sorry for himself but that is definitely not his style.
The slopestyle medal favorite’s Sochi Olympics ended before the Games have even started when he broke his collarbone in a training fall on Monday - years of effort wiped out in a matter of seconds.
Sitting outside a cafe in the athletes’ mountain village with his arm in a sling and a rueful grin, the 26-year-old was determined on Tuesday to focus on the positives.
“What I did, and what I hurt myself on was completely my fault. I can’t blame the course for my injury. It was my decision to try a hard trick on a hard feature so sometimes that’s just what happens,” he told Reuters.
“It’s a big part of our sport. I can’t really say I’m unlucky because it was my decision.
“I’ve just got to hit the reset button right now and think some things over, heal up and ride some powder and kind of refocus,” he said.
After his accident, changes were made to the course with minor tweaks to clean up some of the jumps after other competitors criticized the features.
They come too late for Horgmo, who faces a month out, but the Norwegian will stay on until Friday - the day of the opening ceremony and the first he can get a flight out - at least to cheer on team mates in the qualifying rounds which start on Thursday.
“I’m definitely going to try to show as much support as I can and help the other guys in any way possible,” he said. “I’m there mentally. Possibly not physically, but I’m just going to try to help out and enjoy it at the same time.
“It (the injury) sucks, especially with the timing right now, but at the same time I’ve had a blast on my journey to come here,” he smiled.
Horgmo said the break was clean, likely to be fast-healing and would not require surgery.
“It’ll be fine. I have a lot of other super-fun cool things to look forward to for the rest of the season. I’d be super-bummed if this injury was going to put me out for the rest of the year,” he added.
As Horgmo explained, the Games were not the great goal for him that they might be for others who divide their lives into four year plans.
Slopestyle, a big draw at the Winter X Games with its extreme tricks off jumps, is new for the Sochi Olympics as part of an effort to rejuvenate the program and is likely to be a big hit with television audiences.
“The thing is, when I started snowboarding it was not at all because of this,” said Horgmo.
“The Olympics didn’t exist in my head. I had a lot of other ambitions and goals I wanted to do, other contests and photoshoots and video parts that I wanted to accomplish that was my main motivator for snowboarding in general. I’ve accomplished a lot of those goals.”
The Norwegian is one of the sport’s stars, a familiar name to fans through video clips on the internet, and he sees himself as an ambassador.
“It’s been a blast coming here and being part of it. Obviously the timing of the injury is not a good thing but it’s not the end of the world either,” he said.
“A big part of what we do is picking yourself back up and looking forward and setting new goals and not giving up.
“I feel this far I’ve been one of the biggest ambassadors for getting yourself off the ground and keeping your head up. And I’m going to keep my head up.”
Editing by Josh Reich