Maier Crashes in GS Training, Appears Okay

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Val D'Isere, France Dec. 10 (AP by Erica Bulman)--Olympic and world champion Hermann Maier fell hard during a giant slalom training run today and received a slight concussion, but is expected to race Saturday in the World Cup downhill.

Maier, was treated by the team physiotherapist, also suffered had spinal contusions and bruising along the lower spine, resulting in a general stiffness, Austrian Ski Federation officials said.

``This one was a heck of a fall,'' a shaken Maier said after the accident. ``It was my worst one this year, certainly my most spectacular this season.''

With a go-for-broke style, Maier is no stranger to shuddering crashes.

The fearless skier gave the Nagano Olympics its most riveting, horrifying moment when he skidded out of control, summersaulted in the air, then crashed into two safety nets before landing on his head.

Even more stunning was that Maier was able to walk away waving to fans, and proceed to win two gold medals within the next six days.

If Maier's injuries do not prevent him from competing in the downhill, it could affect his chances for a third overall title.

Maier, who has won five of the six World Cup races he's entered this season _ including a downhill, two super-G's and a pair of giant slaloms _ has become the man to beat. His rivals will be ready to pounce on any sign of weakness from the Austrian, hoping to bring Maier back within reach in the battle for the overall World Cup crown.

Maier, who has never won a downhill in Val d'Isere, is also expected to compete in Sunday in the giant slalom.

Copyright © 1999 The Associated Press