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Injuries cost two US skiers their first shot at Olympic glory but led them to each other

David Wharton, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Olympics

The darkest time? That would be the winter of 2015 and those dismal weeks spent laying around the living room of her family's house.

Sarah Hendrickson took the couch, suffering with a knee injury that threatened to end her career as a world-class ski jumper.

Her boyfriend, freestyle skier Torin Yater-Wallace, slept on a twin bed they set up. Frail and exhausted, he was just out of the hospital where a septic infection had nearly killed him.

Television helped to pass the hours, but if you ask them now, they can't really remember what they watched.

"Sometimes it felt like everything was raining down," she says. "You just get through the days."

A year earlier, Hendrickson and Yater-Wallace had been darlings of the U.S. Olympic team, young athletes expected to reach the podium at the 2014 Sochi Games in Russia with performances that would vault them to stardom.

 

"Things didn't go as well as they were hyped-up to be," Yater-Wallace says. "You question why things happen."

Bad luck brought them together; it was something they had in common, something no one else could fully understand.

But this unfortunate bond also helped save them as they nursed each other back to health and back to the mountain. Now they arrive at the 2018 Winter Olympics with an altered outlook.

This isn't a story about glory or gold medals or big endorsement dollars. It's about perseverance.

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