If you watch a lot of ski jumping when the Olympics come around, the professionals make it look pretty routine. They are so good, you forget they are launching themselves 400 feet through the air on 6-foot long pieces of plastic.
Three-time Olympic gold medalist Thomas Morgenstern of Austria showed just how scary it can get if things go wrong midflight. Morgenstern was taking a practice run at the FIS Ski Jumping World Cup in his home country of Austria before the Sochi Olympic Games next month when he suffered a horrifying accident on the 100-meter hill.
The Kulm, where Morgenstern was competing, is one of the five biggest hills in the world and he was actually competing in ski flying, which is an amped-up version of ski jumping with longer distances. The accident happened in his second practice jump after successfully jumping 196.5 meters (an absurd 644 feet) in his first attempt.
Morgenstern suffered a skull injury and bruised lung, and briefly lost consciousness, but his injuries are not considered life threatening. Doctors told the AP that Morgenstern was talking and moving his arms and legs after the crash, but would stay in the hospital through this weekend.
All you have to do is watch the reaction of his coaches in the video above to know how serious it was. Their instant fear is scary.
Morgenstern won two gold medals in the 2006 Olympics in individual large hill and team large hill and also won a gold in the team large hill in 2010.
Follow Metro New York Sports Editor Mark Osborne on Twitter @MetroNYSports. Stay safe when you’re launching yourself off 300-foot jumps people.