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World Cup ski casualty list concerns federation

Canada skier John Kucera being airlifted off the course
Kucera was airlifted off the mountain after breaking his leg at Lake Louise

The International Ski Federation is worried by the high number of serious accidents in recent World Cup races, says its president Gian Franco Kaspar.

Downhill world champion John Kucera and World Cup slalom champion Jean-Baptiste Grange are just two who will miss next year's Winter Olympics through injury.

Former women's overall World Cup winner Nicole Hosp is also injured and will miss the Vancouver Games in February.

Kaspar said: "We have called a meeting to seek practical solutions."

Former slalom world champion Ivica Kostelic is the latest racer to suffer an injury this season after he was hurt in Friday's World Cup super combined in Val d'Isere, France.

The 30-year-old Croatian had the meniscus on his right knee repaired in the sixth operation of his career over the weekend, but he is expected to compete in Vancouver.

However, Canada's Kucera lost the chance to compete in his home Olympics when he broke his left leg after crashing in the super-giant slalom at Lake Louise in Alberta last month.

TJ Lanning of the United States fractured neck vertebra and dislocated his left knee in the downhill at the same event one day earlier.

France's Grange tore ligaments in his right knee in the giant slalom at Beaver Creek, Colorado, last weekend, while Austria's Hosp was airlifted to hospital with a similar injury at the season-opening event at Soelden in October.


Austria coach Herbert Mandl called for slower course settings to help skiers adapt to their high-tech equipment which has made racing more dangerous.

To that end, the FIS has begun reviewing equipment rules.

"We are in the process of establishing an expert group that will look into several areas of equipment regulations with the goal of finding some short-term suggestions by the FIS Congress in May," women's race director Atle Skaardal said.

"According to our statistics, the overall number of injuries season-by-season has remained relatively stable in recent years.

"Of course, our goal is to decrease this number of injuries and we work towards this with all our means.

"Unfortunately, it is a fact that ski racing is a risky sport and we will never have zero injuries."

A group of men's speed racers will meet next week in Val Gardena, Italy, while slalom specialists will gather in Austria next month.

FIS men's race director Guenter Hujara added: "Unfortunately, the recent accidents all have different injury patterns, and no pattern resembles exactly another.

"This makes it difficult for us to find solutions, and there will be no single answer to fix everything."

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see also
Sick Alcott impresses in Sweden
12 Dec 09 |  Vancouver 2010
Injured Grange out of 2010 Games
08 Dec 09 |  Alpine skiing
Injured skier Kucera misses Games
30 Nov 09 |  Alpine skiing
Hosp bags overall World Cup title
18 Mar 07 |  Winter Sports
Winter Sports on the BBC
09 Mar 09 |  Winter Sports

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