Herminator Leaves Italy to Fight the Flu


February 13, 2006

SESTRIERE, Italy (AP Press Release)—Herminator, heal thyself. Unable to shake a sore throat, two-time Olympic champion Hermann Maier left Italy to try to get well before his last two events of the Turin Games.

His agent, Walter Della Karth, told The Associated Press on Monday that Maier flew out of the country Sunday night after finishing sixth in the men's downhill, the opening Alpine event of the Olympics. Della Karth wouldn't say where Maier went, but did stress the Austrian was not going to a hospital.

"He needs to be at lower altitude. Being at 2,000 meters is not very good to rest, especially with a sore throat. There is not so much oxygen and the air is not so good in Sestriere, Della Karth said. "He needs to go to a lower place for some calm and quiet.

After missing out on a medal Sunday, Maier complained that he didn't have enough power to ski his best, blaming his illness. Fighting a flu and sore throat for the better part of a week, he's been wearing a knit cap and scarf everywhere, including indoors during a news conference.

Della Karth said Maier would return to Sestriere on Wednesday or Thursday. The super-G is Saturday, the giant slalom on Sunday. Maier won golds in those two races at the 1998 Nagano Olympics.

"He is confident he can do quite well in them, Della Karth said.

Maier missed the 2002 Salt Lake City Games after breaking his legs in a motorcycle accident.

Copyright © 2006 The Associated Press