February 13, 2006
SAN SICARIO, Italy (AP by Bob Baum)—American gold medal contender Lindsey Kildow was injured in a severe crash on her downhill training run and airlifted to a hospital on Monday, moments after defending Olympic champion Carole Montillet-Carles of France was hurt in a spectacular fall.
Kildow was taken by helicopter to a hospital trauma center in Turin, the games' host city about 50 miles down the Alps, U.S. Olympic Committee spokesman Bob Condron said.
The injuries apparently were not as severe as first feared.
"The X-rays are normal, said Ed Ryan, USOC medical director. "The decision now is how long she stays in the hospital. There's also a question about whether she banged her head. She is complaining of back pain, but that's normal. We will evaluate further and monitor her condition.
The 21-year-old Kildow lost control when her left ski slid out as she began to turn right around a gate on a rolling, relatively flat stretch midway through the run. She immediately went into an awkward split, with her right knee buckling and slamming against the ground.
Her momentum carried her into the air for about 15 feet and she landed on her back, slammed her head and slid to a stop. Kildow was heaving with pain as medical personnel rushed to her aid, her legs splayed awkwardly.
At the bottom of the course, spectators and skiers first saw Kildow on the large video screen, lying on her back. The crash was shown once, and those at the bottom of the course gasped. Renate Goetschl of Austria grabbed her head and turned away.
Kildow won two downhills on the World Cup this year, was ranked No. 2 on the circuit and finished second fastest during the first training Sunday.
Kildow's crash happened just eight skiers after Montillet-Carles of France lost control during a jump midway through her run and slammed into the protective fencing. She landed on her back and her head hit the snow.
Montillet-Carles, 32, appeared to be conscious and was being examined at a clinic in nearby Sestriere. No further details of her condition were immediately available.
In all, four skiers crashed during training on a run made largely of machine-manufactured snow.
Canadian Allison Forsyth crashed and was taken to the same trauma hospital as Kildow, according to Pascale Vogeli, the press manager for the San Sicario venue. Elisabeth Goergl of Austria fell but was able to ski down on her own.
"It's the Olympics. People are trying to take more chances, Canada's Emily Brydon said. "It is so rolly up there, you have to be on it all the time. If you relax for a bit, it will catch you.
Martina Schild of Switzerland was the fastest in Monday's run at 1 minute, 55.52 seconds. Goetschl was second at 1:56.28 followed by Austrian Alexandra Meissnitzer at 1:56.42. American Julia Mancuso, who skied right after Kidlow was removed from the slope, was fourth-fastest at 1:56.45.
American medal hopeful Mancuso, who waited near the start box as the next skier scheduled after Kildow, said the course condition was similar to the first training runs on Sunday.
"There's just a lot of rolls. Anything can happen, Mancuso said. "You can come off a jump, catch an edge and be a little unlucky.
Kildow's injury was the latest blow to an already depleted U.S. team. Caroline Lalive's season ended when she injured her left knee in a crash last month and slalom specialist Kristina Koznick has partially torn ligaments in her right knee and could miss her Feb. 22 race.
Copyright © 2006 The Associated Press