Kildow Will Try to Race, Despite Crash

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February 14, 2006

SAN SICARIO, Italy (AP by Andrew Dampf)—American medal hopeful Lindsey Kildow left the hospital Tuesday, just 24 hours after a harrowing training crash that slammed her into the frozen course at 50 mph, and U.S. team officials said she will try to ski Wednesday's downhill.

Kildow was on the official start list submitted for the downhill, although U.S. women's coach Patrick Riml said a final decision would depend on her condition just before the race.

Jesse Hunt, the U.S. Alpine program director, said in a teleconference that Kildow has pain in her lower back and pelvis area.

"We're at the Olympic Games and we want to give her the opportunity if she's prepared to put down a great run, Hunt said. "If not, it makes more sense for her to prepare for upcoming races. It's going to be day by day.

Kildow also is slated to compete in Friday's combined race and Sunday's super-G.

The U.S. Olympic Committee's chief medical officer said Kildow was sore, but X-rays and other exams looked fine.

Somehow, the 21-year-old American escaped serious injury during the horrific crash that took place Monday on a training run. She spent the night at a hospital in Turin after being flown in by helicopter.

Hunt said that even if Kildow does not race, she had earned the right keep one of the team's four starting spots based on her results this season. She won two downhills earlier this season and is second in the World Cup standings.

"If she doesn't we will go with three athletes tomorrow, Hunt said.

The other members of the team are Kirsten Clark, Stacey Cook and Julia Mancuso. Mancuso was third fastest in Tuesday's final training session.[pagebreak]Clark said she hoped Kildow would race.

"She's super lucky she didn't have any major injuries. It's just a matter of how sore she is after a crash like that, Clark said. "Whenever you crash in downhill and walk away without injuries you're definitely lucky.

Kildow would not be the first to stage an unbelievable comeback from a terrifying crash. Eight years ago, Austrian great Hermann Maier soared off the course over two safety fences in the downhill at the Nagano Olympics, then came back 72 hours later to win the first of two golds.

"Hermann Maier did it, Hunt said. "It's been done before.

Other top skiers will also be making last-minute decisions about their participation in Wednesday's downhill.

Janica Kostelic, a triple gold medalist four years ago, did not start Tuesday's final training session due to a high pulse. Croatia team spokesman Ozren Mueller said a final decision on Kostelic's status would also be made Wednesday.

Reigning Olympic champion Carole Montillet-Carles of France, who lost control during a jump midway through her run, suffered rib, back and facial injuries. She too is on the start list and, like Kildow, won't decide whether to race until Wednesday morning _ in her case, after dressing and warming up, according to women's team head coach Lionel Finance.

Copyright © 2006 The Associated Press

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