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Italy Finds Replacements for Ski Jumpers

February 8, 2006

TURIN, Italy (AP) _ The Italian ski jumping team will replace its two injured athletes with teammates from Nordic combined. Giuseppe Michielli is expected to take one of the spots, while either Alessandro Pittin or Jochen Strobl will get the other, said Gaetano Coppi, the head of the Italian winter sports federation.

The two that are picked by the ski jumping coaches will only compete in the team event, Coppi said Wednesday.

``With a lower number of athletes we will take part in the same number of events,″ Italian delegation head Raffaele Pagnozzi said.

On Monday, Marco Beltrame and Stefano Chiapolino were hurt in separate falls while attempting landings at Predazzo in Val di Fiemme.

Beltrame’s injuries did not appear to be serious at first, but he fainted before dinner Monday night and was taken to the hospital, where his spleen was removed.

Chiapolino broke his nose and needed stitches after getting cuts on his face.

The injuries were not thought to be career-threatening.

The head coach of the Italian Nordic combined team, Fabio Morandini, blamed the falls on technical mistakes, but top Italian ski jumper Sebastian Colloredo blamed the slopes.

``We are really upset,″ Colloredo said. ``I saw both falls, it was horrible. It was the fault of the slopes in Predazzo.″

The Nordic combined team has five members, but Daniele Munari and Davide Bresadola were not considered to be candidates to replace Beltrame and Chiapolino.

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