Whitefish Olympian: I’ll Be Back

By Beacon Staff

The inspiring rise of the youngest winter Olympian in a generation suffered a painful crash last week.

Maggie Voisin was practicing for the women’s slopestyle competition at the Sochi Games on Feb. 7 when she broke a bone in her leg, prematurely ending her historic Olympic run. The 15-year-old from Whitefish was skiing backwards on a 2,000-foot rail feature to perform a trick when she caught an edge and crashed into another massive feature on the challenging Rosa Khutor Extreme Park. She walked away from the crash a little sore, but later that day an X-ray revealed that she had broken her fibula above her ankle.

Instead of pointing blame at the course, which has come under fire for its safety and size, Voisin responded, “It was super safe, super fun,” she told the Associated Press. “I got the flow. It was a good competition. We had a good run plan. Unfortunately, it was just a freak accident. That’s part of our sport. It was awful timing.”

Despite the injury, she was hoping to quickly heal up and be able to compete, according to USA Today.

But alas, doctors for Team USA ruled Voisin was unfit for competition in the Feb. 11 Olympic slopestyle skiing event. Another X-ray is scheduled in the weeks ahead to determine if she needs surgery, but in the meantime she is staying in Sochi with her parents, Kristin and Truby, and making the most of the experience.

“I’m extremely disappointed to not be skiing in the first ever women’s slopestyle competition here in Sochi this week. This whole season has been a dream, and to get this close and then not be able to ski is heartbreaking,” she told the Beacon via email last weekend. “But I will heal soon and be back competing in no time. I have lots of skiing in front of me. Now I will just try and have fun and enjoy the rest of the Olympic experience.”

Voisin’s resolve and optimism following the crash has reflected the affable, good nature that won over national audiences and fellow competitors all winter, and became one of the inspiring storylines of the Olympics.

She was the youngest Winter Olympian on Team USA since 1972. Despite falling short of her dreams of competing in Sochi, Voisin already had an impressive season. Two weeks ago she claimed a silver medal at the Winter X Games in Aspen, Colo. and was one of the youngest skiers ever to compete.

“Maggie and all of our Olympians have made Montana extremely proud,” said Gov. Steve Bullock. “Maggie’s hard work and dedication helped her to become the youngest member of Team USA. While it’s unfortunate that she was injured, we look forward to seeing her compete in the future, especially in South Korea in 2018.”

Whitefish Mayor John Muhlfeld said he has known the Voisin family for almost two decades and is confident that Maggie will be able to rebound from her injury and return to elite competition in no time.

MAGGIE VOISIN – Courtesy photo

“I’m sure despite this setback, they are making the best of the situation and enjoying their visit to Sochi,” Muhlfeld said.

“Whitefish and the entire Flathead Valley are very proud of Maggie for her incredible accomplishments and for representing Whitefish at the winter Olympic games. I’m confident she will make a strong comeback in 2018. She has made our community proud, and we all look forward to seeing her back up on the Big Mountain following a speedy recovery.”

Voisin posted a photo on Instagram in Sochi with her and her teammates after the accident, expressing sadness but gratitude for everything that has transpired in the recent months.

“I never thought to come as far as I did and I’m honored to have had all these experiences. I’m going to enjoy every minute here in Sochi and I’m looking forward to supporting my team, my friends, and everyone participating in the games,” she said. “I want to thank everyone for all of your support especially to my family, friends, hometown, and sponsors. None of this would have been possible without you and I can’t wait for many more years ahead!”

She added, in another interview with the AP, “I’ll be back. I’m not going anywhere.”

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