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U.S. Skier Crashes, Tears Ligaments

January 10, 2002

WENGEN, Switzerland (AP) _ U.S. skier Chad Fleischer tore ligaments in his right knee during a World Cup downhill training session Thursday, an accident likely to keep him out of next months Salt Lake City Olympics.

Dr. Urs Allensbach said Fleischer tore the anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments in his right knee and had sprained his right elbow.

Fleischer, a 30-year-old from Vail, Colo., caught a ski coming out of a small tunnel midway down the Lauberhorn course _ the longest on the World Cup circuit at 14,616 feet _ and careened wildly into safety netting.

Training for the weekend race was interrupted for about 20 minutes following the accident.

There have been a series of major crashes during downhill races and training this season.

French skier Regine Cavagnoud died two days after she slammed into a German ski trainer during a practice run on Austria’s Pitztal glacier on Oct. 29.

On Dec. 8, Swiss skier Silvano Beltrametti was paralyzed after losing control and crashing through safety netting during the first men’s downhill of the season in Val d’Isere, France.

Fleischer called Beltrametti’s crash ``mind-boggling″ and ``scary.″

``It makes you realize you take the nets for granted,″ he said. ``It looked like a dart going through paper.″

He has crashed several times, including during his 1994 Olympic debut in the super giant slalom at Lillehammer, Norway

In 1995 at Kitzbuehel, Austria he badly damaging a hip in an accident during a World Cup downhill, and 1999 injured his left shoulder during a race in Italy.

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