The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine

Winter Olympic Sports Ankle Injuries: Athletes Risk All to Reap Rewards

Posted by on Wednesday, February 26th, 2014


“Two Julys ago, I broke my ankle, broke both ankles at the same time, actually,” 22-year-old Olympic freestyle skier Bobby Brown told the Washington Post. He goes on to say, “One needed surgery. Got surgery. Rehabbed. Came back in February. Broke ankle again.” Ouch!

The nonchalant way in which he describes his ankle injuries implies that, for Winter Olympians, pain is all part of the game — that, to these rare birds, destroying their bodies is a worthwhile risk for the glory of winning a medal. In fact, The Post also reports that one in 10 athletes suffered an injury during the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics.

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Ankle injuries greatly affected the 2014 Winter Olympics.
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 Ankle Injuries Affecting 2014 Winter Olympics

Recent ankle injuries affected the Sochi Olympics considerably.

– Fifteen-year-old American freestyle skier Maggie Voisin — the youngest member of Team USA — did not compete in the Olympic slopestyle debut after injuring her right ankle in a fall off a rail during training on February 7th. After winning a silver medal at the X Games in Aspen last month, many had pegged Voison as a medal contender before her accident.

– Minnesota Wild center Mikko Koivu was hoping to play for his native land of Finland in the Olympic hockey match, but a right ankle fracture he suffered blocking a shot on January 4th did not heal in time following surgery, he reports. The two-time Olympian was an experienced player who was rumored as a possible captain for the team before the disappointing news.

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Mikko Koivu did not be hit these 2014 Sochi hockey pucks this year due to injury.
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– Team USA snowboard superstar Shaun White claims that his laundry list of injuries has had no impact on his performance. Among his aches and pains are: a wrist injury on the Sochi half-pipe, a bruised eye from a Copper Mountain training run, a right shoulder jam from a Mammoth Lakes qualifier fall, and a recently sprained ankle from Breckenridge. His fall from gold in the 2006 Turino Olympics and 2010 Vancouver Olympics to fourth place this year gives the impression that he needs to let his body heal.

– China’s premier short track speed skater Wang Meng did not attend this year’s Olympics due to a serious ankle injury she sustained less than a month before the ceremonies kicked off. She hadn’t been skating very fast, but an unexpected collision with a teammate left her with double fractures in her right ankle, which will require at least six to eight weeks of recovery. She currently holds the title for the 500-meter, 1000-meter and 3000-meter relay, so her absence was missed.

Sports Injuries: A Hefty Price to Pay, but “Worth It” to Athletes

“The injuries are real and they for sure hurt, but it’s one of the inherent risks,” alpine skier Gus Kenworthy tells the LA Times. The West coast paper reports that nearly 300 athletes were hurt in the Vancouver Olympics — not including those who were injured during major spills at training camp. “I don’t think we’re hillbillies or anything, but we’re all adrenaline junkies,” Kenworthy explains. “We want to scare ourselves.” 

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Snowboarder Shaun White was laid up last month after injuring his ankle at Breckenridge. He said he was fine for the Sochi Olympics, but his 4th place run suggests otherwise.
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NY Sports Medicine Center Helps Thrill Junkies Get Well

Here at The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine in New York City, we focus on rehabilitating professional athletes who suffer foot and ankle injuries. We offer the latest technological machines, as well as advanced surgical procedures, to help athletes get back to the games they love as quickly as possible without re-injuring themselves. Our full-service staff also includes physical therapists and fitness coaches who will help you stay in shape as you recover. Book with us today!



If you have any foot problems or pain, contact The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports MedicineDr. Josef J. GeldwertDr. Katherine Lai, Dr. Ryan Minara and Dr. Mariola Rivera have helped thousands of people get back on their feet. Unfortunately, we cannot give diagnoses or treatment advice online. Please make an appointment to see us if you live in the NY metropolitan area or seek out a podiatrist in your area.