U.S. Skier Koznick Skis With Knee Brace


February 16, 2006

SESTRIERE, Italy (AP by Erica Bulman)—American Kristina Koznick took three runs Thursday with a brace on her right knee, her first time on skis since injuring herself almost two weeks ago.

The top-ranked U.S. women’s slalom racer skied on a gentle slope.

“It went awesome, said Dan Stripp, her coach and boyfriend. “If it doesn’t swell up too much, we’ll go out again tomorrow.

Stripp would not say where they trained.

“Granted it’s on the bunny hill, Koznick said, but added that she had felt “barely any pain.

The 30-year-old Koznick has only six days until the women’s slalom Feb. 22.

Koznick partially tore ligaments in her knee last weekend while warming up for a World Cup race in Germany. A more severe injury to her other knee kept her from what would have been her first Olympics in 1994.

In the 1998 Olympics, she failed to finish the slalom, and in 2002 she was 17th in the giant slalom and did not finish the slalom.

This is her final season as a World Cup skier and her final Olympics, but Koznick has said she won’t hesitate to step aside for a teammate if she’s not ready to compete.

The Minnesota native hasn’t won a World Cup race since 2003, but she had two second places and a third last winter. This season, she’s been in the top 10 in four of five World Cup slaloms.

Currently eighth in the World Cup women’s slalom standings, she is the country’s best chance for medal in the event.

The U.S. team is ready with a replacement should Koznick withdraw.

Lindsey Kildow and Julia Mancuso have secured berths, while Sarah Schleper and Resi Stiegler are vying for the last spot.

Copyright © 2006 The Associated Press