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20th WINTER OLYMPIC GAMES

U.S. Racer Is Injured Sledding

February 24, 2006|Alan Abrahamson | From Times Staff and Wire Reports

U.S. skeleton racer Kevin Ellis broke a vertebra in his back Thursday in a sledding accident, the U.S. Olympic Committee said.

Jim Sterling, the USOC's chief medical officer, said there was no paralysis. Ellis, 32, of Dallas, was taken to a hospital in Turin.

Ellis was hurt while sledding in a friendly competition with two other U.S. skeleton racers, Eric Bernotas and Katie Uhlaender, and two U.S. luge racers, Christian Niccum and Erin Hamlin.

Ellis finished 17th in the men's skeleton competition a week ago at Cesana Pariol, Italy.

-- Alan Abrahamson

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Anni Friesinger of Germany, who has won four Olympic speedskating medals, pulled out of Saturday's women's 5,000-meter race because she's tired.

Friesinger has the fourth-fastest time over the distance this season.

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Turin police investigating an abandoned car near the Olympics' main media center said it turned out to be a false alarm.

Suspicions were raised when witnesses saw two people leaving the small car, left with its engine on near a traffic underpass, police said. About 150 residents were evacuated from two apartment buildings, and nearby cars were towed.

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