OBERSTDORF, Germany – Ivan Babikov’s arm isn’t broken, according to his coach Justin Wadsworth.
X-rays at a local hospital Sunday afternoon revealed that Babikov’s bones were intact, after a hard crash at the end of Stage 4 of the 2012 Tour de Ski that busted Babikov’s pole and one of his best skis, Wadsworth said.
Local physicians gave Babikov a brace, and told him to let pain govern his decisions about racing. Wadsworth said in a phone interview that there’s still a chance Babikov could race the fifth stage of the Tour after a rest day on Monday.
“Hopefully he’ll come around and the arm will be good enough to race,” Wadsworth said. “He stacked it in pretty hard—I think he was a little shaken up.”
Babikov did end up with a “big, nice cut on his nose,” but the biggest casualty of the fall may have been his Salomon skate ski, Wadsworth said.
Asked whether the arm injury or the broken board was more upsetting to Babikov, Wadsworth said that it was “definitely his arm, initially, but I think breaking that ski is really going to sink in, too.”
Up until the crash, Babikov had been skiing at the front of the lead pack, and was in position for a potential top-10 finish at the crest of the final hill, Wadsworth said.
After the crash, Babikov picked himself up only to be brought down again by his broken ski.
“He got up and started to go, and face-planted because his ski just dug in,” Wadsworth said.
The crash left Babikov in 31st place, 40 seconds behind the winner, which Wadsworth called “frustrating.”
“He was skiing really well,” Wadsworth said. “Hopefully, the arm will be good enough to race, and he can just push hard in [the next stages] and just reset the race for himself.”
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Nat Herz is an Alaska-based journalist who moonlights for FasterSkier as an occasional reporter and podcast host. He was FasterSkier's full-time reporter in 2010 and 2011.