Olympics: Kiwi medal hope becomes latest slopestyle injury victim

ROSA KHUTOR, Russia - One of New Zealand's best Olympic medal hopes, Christy Prior, was forced out of the slopestyle snowboard competition following a crash on Sunday, the latest in a long line of athletes to fall foul of the testing conditions at the Extreme Park.

The British-born 25-year-old suffered a suspected concussion in a training crash before Sunday morning's semi-finals, making her the third woman this week to pull out of the event through injury.

"Team doctors believe Christy may have concussion sustained following a crash during practice earlier this morning (Sunday) in Sochi," the New Zealand Olympic team said in a statement on its Facebook page.

A New Zealand Olympic team official at Rosa Khutor Extreme Park said Prior was "a bit spacy" after her fall and that her withdrawal had been a necessary precaution.

Later, during the final, Czech Sarka Pancochova crashed heavily on her second run as she under-rotated on the second jump and smashed her helmet on landing.

She appeared to be momentarily knocked-out as she lay motionless on the slope before eventually sitting up and boarding down to the finish.

Kjersti Buaas of Norway and Finland's Merika Enne also failed to start the semi-finals after crashing earlier in the week.

There have been a succession of crashes in the daredevil snowboarding and freestyle skiing disciplines.

American star Shaun White pulled out of the men's slopestyle after a crash on Tuesday in training while a day earlier Norway's medal hope Torstein Horgmo broke his collarbone in an accident that ended his Olympics.

Austrian Adrian Krainer pulled out of Saturday's semi-finals after a crash in training on Friday left him with injuries to his chin and heels.

Freestyle skiing has also seen a host of injury-induced withdrawals with Americans Maggie Voisin and Heidi Kloser and Japan's Miki Ito among the victims.