Rising snowboarder Ryan Stassel of Anchorage, who notched a seventh-place finish in slopestyle at the World Championships earlier this season, broke his ankle in a World Cup event this week in Spain and is headed home to have the injury evaluated, according to his family.
Stassel, 20, qualified for the finals in Sierra Nevada, Spain, but did not start after a hard landing in qualifying left him injured.
Stassel's family said he will likely be sidelined two or three months, and it still must be determined whether Stassel's injury requires surgery.
In any event, the Service High graduate has more than 10 months in which to heal and get back in training for the 2014 Olympics, which are set for Sochi, Russia, in February.
Stassel is ranked 15th in the world in slopestyle and his seventh place in slopestyle at January's World Championships in Quebec was the best finish by an American.
Slopestyle, a crowd-pleasing event in which athletes perform mid-air tricks while descending a course set with jumps, rails and other terrain-park features, makes its Olympic debut in Sochi.
Anchorage Daily News