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U.S. Medal Hopes Go Downhill: Top Skier Hurt in Freak Crash

February 18, 1988|Associated Press

CALGARY, Canada — America's team got another bad break at the Winter Olympics today when U.S. downhiller Pam Fletcher--considered the United States' best hope for a medal in the women's downhill--collided with another skier and was sidelined by a leg injury.

Fletcher was hurt during a warm-up run just hours before the downhill. She sustained a possible broken right leg and a bruised right arm when she collided with a volunteer worker as she was skiing back to the chair lift.

"It's a bummer when stuff like this happens to you," Fletcher said. "It's something that you don't wish happens to anyone."

"I was warming up, and when I skied toward the lift I collided with a man coming very fast from the opposite direction," Fletcher said.

"I don't know who he was. He was tall and big. I went to my left, he went to his left, I went to my right. . . . I believe it may have been my fault.

"I cried. It's so frustrating. But so it goes. I was ready for this race. I had a good starting position (No. 1) and a great opportunity."

She was taken to a clinic at Nakiska ski area, where her leg was immobilized in a plastic cast. She declined hospitalization, saying she wanted to watch the race.

But the women's downhill was canceled after Brigitte Oertli of Switzerland, the first starter, apparently was blown off the course by high winds. It wasn't immediately determined when the race will be rescheduled.

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