Andrew Kurka’s Paralympics ended before they started.
Kurka, a 21-year-old from Palmer, left Russia on Saturday with a broken back suffered during training for the sit-skiing downhill race.
“(L)aunched a jump in the training run breaking my back,” Kurka told the Daily News via Twitter.
Kurka was a medal favorite in the downhill in Sochi. He won a gold medal at a World Cup downhill in Canada in January and is ranked seventh in the world in that event.
The downhill was one of the first events held at the Paralympics — by the time it started, Kurka was already at the Moscow airport, waiting to board a flight home.
Kurka, who was partially paralyzed in a four-wheeler accident at Jim Creek when he was 13, was a first-time Paralympian and one of two Alaskan skiers on the U.S. team. The other, Joe Tompkins of Juneau, didn’t race in the downhill.
Anchorage Daily News