29-Year-Old Skier Sarah Burke Died Doing What She Loved (VIDEO)

sarah burke rory bushfieldThe sports world suffered a huge loss when 29-year-old Canadian freestyle skier Sarah Burke died yesterday after a January 10 training run accident in Park City, Utah. An X Games star, Burke lobbied successfully to add Superpipe skiing to the Olympic Games. The athlete was expected to compete in the first ever Olympic Superpipe event in 2014.

Her tragic death will no doubt bring the sport's safety into question (again): Burke crashed on the same Superpipe (featuring 22-foot high walls) where snowboarder Kevin Pearce suffered a traumatic brain injury in 2009.

But is Superpipe skiing really any more dangerous than snowboarding or skicross? Or even regular skiing?

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After all, people die on ski slopes, too. Actress Natasha Richardson, wife to Liam Neeson, died in 2009 after falling and hitting her head during a beginner's ski lesson. Granted, Burke's accident sounds more dramatic (she fell and ruptured an artery in her neck, which caused irreversible brain damage), but both proved fatal.

And Burke was well aware of the risks she faced as an athlete. When she broke a vertabra competing in the 2009 X Games' women slopestyle event, she recovered quickly and took the injury in stride. In 2010, she told a reporter:

"I've been doing this for long time, 11 years. I've been very lucky with the injuries I've had. It's part of the game. Everybody gets hurt. Looking back on it, I'd probably do the exact same thing again."

Burke's passion and drive are palpable in the film Winter, a documentary starring Burke and her husband, fellow freestyle skier Rory Bushfield (check out the clip below).

There's no question that Burke died doing what she loved. How many of us will be able to say the same?

Do you think Superpipe skiing is too dangerous?

 

Image via TheSkiChannel1/YouTube

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