QUEBEC CITY — In a Cool Runnings moment, an Austrian athlete finished his sprint race in Québec City on Saturday despite breaking one of his skis.
A full minute after Norwegian Eirik Brandsdal won the day’s second quarterfinal heat, 28-year-old Harald Wurm rounded the last corner onto the homestretch. He was riding his sole remaining ski after breaking the other crashing into a Polish athlete–and, to the delight of the crowd, Wurm was scootering himself towards the finish with his right boot.
After a theatrical lunge for the line, Wurm was rewarded with a time 75 seconds slower than Brandsdal’s (in a three-minute race). But perhaps most importantly, his finish secured him 27th place out of the 30 athletes in the quarterfinals, based on the strength of his preliminary time.
Wurm’s command of the English language was limited (though to be fair, certainly stronger than FasterSkier’s knowledge of German), but he said he was trying to put on “a little bit of a show for the peoples here.”
“Very good fun,” he added. “And I hope the next race is better.”
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.