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Olympian Aaron Blunck finds peace after dangerous halfpipe crash

Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times via AP, File

By PAT GRAHAM
AP Sports Writer

ASPEN, Colo. (AP) — American freestyle skier Aaron Blunck landed on the lip of the halfpipe 15 months ago in Switzerland while working on a demanding trick.

He lacerated his kidney, broke six ribs, fractured his pelvis and bruised his heart in the crash.

In so much pain, he wasn't sure he was going to make it that day.

But the whirr of the helicopter blades taking him to the hospital created a peaceful sensation and a swift realization: No longer would he take any moment for granted.

Aaron Blunck, of the United States, makes a run during halfpipe qualifying Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2021, at the U.S. Grand Prix freestyle skiing event at Copper Mountain, Colo.

Fully recovered, he's a strong medal contender heading into the Beijing Games next month.

Silver medalist Aaron Blunck of the United States competes during the Men's Freeski Halfpipe event at the FIS Freeski World Cup in Chongli county near Zhangjiakou in northern China's Hebei province on Saturday, Dec. 21, 2019. In a crash a year ago, Blunk landed on the lip of the halfpipe and lacerated his kidney, broke ribs, fractured his pelvis and bruised his heart. While down in the halfpipe and waiting for a helicopter to take him to the hospital, he told his coach: "Please don't let me die." He's now a medal contender.
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