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Slopestyle gold medal favorite to sit out of Winter Olympics due to knee injury

Estonia’s skiing prodigy Kelly Sildaru revealed in a statement on Tuesday that she will only be a spectator of the 2018 PyeongChang Olympic Games. The 15-year-old was a gold-medal favorite for the slopestyle event, but she sustained a knee injury earlier this month that requires surgery and a six to nine month recovery period.

Sildaru won her first Winter X Games when she was only 13 years old, making her the youngest champion the competition has ever seen. In 2016, she became an X Game champ once again and is currently the reigning queen of slopestyle.

The Estonian was also considered to be a podium finisher in the halfpipe after outscoring three Sochi Olympic athletes at a World Cup event in New Zealand on Sept. 1. Sildaru placed second to beat out 2014 Olympic gold medalist Maddie Bowman.

[More from Excelle Sports: Meet the two best friends who are putting women’s freestyle skiing on the map]

Ever since she was a young girl, Sildaru has captured the hearts of her countryman. When she was 12, she was featured in an Estonian yogurt commercial.

Sildaru will turn 16 the day of the slopestyle event, but she’ll have to celebrate from the stands.


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