Sarah Burke
Olympic gold medalist, Sarah Burke, died Thursday after sustaining a tragic head injury nine days ago. The 29-year-old Canadian ski champion was a four-time super pipe Winter X Games winner and was seen as a front runner for the 2012 Winter Olympics.Burke suffered severe injuries last Tuesday after crashing in a practice run on the half pipe ramp at the Park City Mountain Resort in Utah. Surgeons said Burke had torn her vertebral artery, causing massive bleeding. She was put into a medical induced coma following the accident after suffering cardiac arrest and loss of oxygen to her brain.The pro-skiier's accident has sparked a debate about the dangers of freestyle skiing and other winter sports. Burke is not the first to have suffered life-threatening injuries from a winter sport. Among others, snowboarder Kevin Pearce also sustained head injuries while training for the 2010 Olympics. Reuters

Updated on Jan. 18 at 4:17 p.m. ET: Sarah Burke Dead at 29: Succumbs to Skiing Injuries

Sarah Burke, a Canadian Olympic hopeful and freestyle skiing pioneer, remains in a medically induced coma and is said to be in critical condition following a crash on a half-pipe course training ramp in Park City, Utah.

The Globe and Mail reported that the Burke, 28, was performing a trick near the bottom of the pipe Tuesday afternoon. She managed to land on her feet but somehow fell and hit her head after.

She was reportedly treated at the scene before taken to University Hospital in Salt Lake.

Peter Judge, the chief executive officer of the Canadian freestyle team, confirmed with The Associated Press that Burke is in critical condition as a result of Tuesday's incident. Burke is a member of the Canadian national half-pipe team and is from Squamish, B.C.

What I've heard, relatively directly, is that she landed a trick down in the bottom end of the pipe, and kind of bounced, from her feet to her head, Judge told the Toronto Globe and Mail. It wasn't anything that looked like a catastrophic fall, so I'm a bit mystified.

The Washington Post reported that Burke's family is with her and that her husband Rory Bushfield, a freestyle skier, posted a plea on Twitter for transportation to Salt Lake City late Tuesday night.

Burke has been training for the upcoming X-Games in Aspen, Colo. She has won the gold four times in those games.

Reports are that Burke's accident happened on the same course where snowboarder and Olympic medalist Kevin Pearce suffered a brain injury back in 2009.

The family requested privacy so that they can focus on Burke's recovery.

Burke has advocated for years to have both men and women freestyle skiing included in the winter Olympics and was recently successful. It is uncertain whether she will now be able to compete in the winter games in Russia in 2014.

Watch Sarah Burke in action in the video below: