Maier Says No to Olympics

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Kitzbühel, Austria, Jan. 16, 2002 -- Hermann Maier ended months of speculation Wednesday, announcing to a packed news conference that his hopes of competing in Salt Lake City would not come true. Maier, who was injured in an August motorcycle crash in Austria, said that he is close to racing, but not close enough to take the risk. "It has been my plan all along to try to make it back for the Olympics," said Maier. "Even in my hospital bed, I was working to get back in shape.

"It's very close now, but not enough to take the risk. For me it would be better if the Olympics were next year. I'll probably go on a holiday then and start skiing in February or March to come back next year."

Maier indicated that his goal had been to be back in time for German World Cups the last weekend in January.

The Olympic champion said that he still felt pain and that he still was not quite back in shape. He had skied in an exhibition the night prior and looked tentative.

The news conference was carried live on Austrian national television. Over 250 journalists packed the pressroom at Kitzbühel following Wednesday's second day of downhill training.