Nina O’Brien gave gratitude toward supporters before officially declaring that she was moving on from her devastating experience at the 2022 Winter Olympics.
The 24-year-old alpine skier was hospitalized in Beijing after she suffered multiple leg fractures at the women’s giant slalom competition on Feb. 7.
“Bye Beijing! I’m one happy girl to be heading home,” she said in an Instagram post surrounded by medical staff.
O’Brien landed back in the United States on Saturday — concluding her sad journey from America to China, back to America.
“I can’t leave without saying thank you one more time,” said the skier. “The support I’ve felt over these last few days has been truly mind blowing. I haven’t been able to keep up with the messages, but please know that they’ve made this all a bit easier.”
On O’Brien’s second run during the giant slalom event, she fell towards the end of her run, crashed into one of the gates and slid straight through to the finish area. The event was delayed for several minutes and O’Brien was eventually stretchered off by medical personnel. The 24-year-old debut Olympian was alert and responsive, but it was clear her injuries were severe.
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Upon arriving at the hospital in Beijing’s Yanqing District, the diagnosis was an open fracture to her left tibia, which happened after her skis parted out from under her on the course.
The plan was for O’Brien to undergo surgery close to the site of the crash, hence her stay in a hospital in Beijing. Next, she would travel back to the United States to be reevaluated and further treated.
Despite the series of unfortunate events that O’Brien faced, she finished with the sixth fastest first run in the giant slalom event, with this being her Olympic debut.
“It wasn’t the Olympics I’d dreamed of, but the dream lives on anyways. Onwards!” added O’Brien.