Team USA's Kai Owens suffered a brutal crash during a training session at the Beijing Olympics.
Damage from the wipeout caused her face to bruise and her eye to swell completely shut.
She managed to recover enough to compete in her event's finals just 5 days after the incident.
Kai Owens completed an improbable comeback at the Beijing Olympics.
The Chinese-born Team USA star suffered a terrifying fall during a training run at Genting Snow Park — the official Olympic venue for the games' moguls events — that left one of her eyes swollen completely shut.
Five days later, the 17-year-old somehow managed to compete in the finals.
Owens shared a photo of the aftermath of her practice-session wipeout, adding in her Instagram post caption that she was "working with our medical team to evaluate and make the best decisions" after taking "a little crash in training last night."
The black-and-blue on her left eye was tough to miss.
"The first day I couldn't even move my arm," Owens told USA Today. "I was in a sling because of my rotator cuff. And then I couldn't see out of my eye."
The better part of a week's worth of "cupping, dry needling, ice, pressure, and some kind of brush for her face" — according to USA Today — enabled Owens to return to the field in time for finals. Though she had to miss the first qualification event on Thursday, just two days after the initial fall, she returned for the second qualifying session on Sunday.
"It's the Olympics," Owens said. "I had this little incident. I feel like I have to slay a dragon. It feels impossible."
"And then I stepped in the gate and I just realized, it's just a mogul course," she added. "I've skied moguls my whole life. It almost just makes me smile."
Her score — a 69.92 — was good for an eighth-place finish and a spot in the first round of the finals, where she improved her performance by more than five points and took sixth place to advance to the next stage of the competition.
—NBC Olympics (@NBCOlympics) February 6, 2022
And even though she failed to qualify for the last stretch of the finals — she posted a 65.49 in the second final for a 10th-place finish — her mere presence on the slopes was an astounding feat.
"It was a big project, it was tough," Owens said. "It's been a long couple of days. But I made it."
"I'm just so thankful to be here," she added. "I owe a huge 'thanks' to our Team USA staff, US ski and snowboard staff. They helped get me out here tonight."
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