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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Monday, January 18, 2010

Snowboarding: Olympic halfpipe hopeful injured, out for 2010

Associated Press

Snowboarder Danny Davis won't have a chance to dedicate his Olympics to a fallen friend after a season-ending back injury in a four-wheeling accident in Utah.

Davis, who is good friends with injured halfpipe rider Kevin Pearce, was scheduled to undergo surgery Monday to repair a vertebrae in his lower back. A message on his Facebook site said he got hurt riding an all-terrain vehicle Sunday and will not be competing in remaining snowboard events in 2010.

About a week after Pearce suffered a severe brain injury during training last month, Davis won a snowboarding Grand Prix halfpipe event in Mammoth Lakes, Calif., that all but assured him a spot in the Olympics.

He won by landing three double-cork jumps double back flips with a series of different twists in the same run. Almost instantly, the performance was touted as one of the best halfpipe runs in the history of the sport, and he dedicated the run to Pearce.

"I had Kev on my mind and right before every run I was making sure I had him in spirit," Davis said that day. "I know we're sending vibes back to each other, and it was good."

Davis won a Winter Dew Tour halfpipe event Saturday at Snowbasin and was off-roading in the Utah mountains when the accident occurred. His Facebook message said doctors were optimistic he would make a full recovery.

Pearce remains in serious condition in a Salt Lake City hospital.

The injuries to two of America's top halfpipe riders puts added importance on the final two Olympic qualifying events, set for Friday and Saturday in Park City.

Defending Olympic champion Shaun White already has two victories and has solidified his spot on the team. Louie Vito, who has a pair of second-place finishes, also looks like a good bet to make the team. Jarret Thomas, the 2002 Olympic bronze medalist, and Zach Black each have a pair of top-5 finishes this year.