Al Jazeera’s Brendan Connor reports on freestyle skiing ahead of the Winter Olympics.
|Before the fall: Kucera on the day of his accident in Lake Louise [GALLO/GETTY]|
Canada’s downhill world champion John Kucera is in danger of missing the Winter Olympics in Vancouver after breaking his leg in a high-speed fall.
Kucera was airlifted from the Lake Louise course in Alberta to a nearby hospital after crashing into the safety netting on Sunday during the season-opening World Cup super-G, won by his teammate Manuel Osborne-Paradis.
“John Kucera has a left leg fracture that will require surgery,” said Alpine Canada in a statement.
There was no immediate comment on whether he would be able to compete at the Olympics, starting in February.
The 25-year-old Kucera was regarded as one of his country’s top medal hopes for Vancouver and his injury overshadowed Osborne-Paradis’ first World Cup super-G win.
“It’s amazing but just too bad this wonderful day has been overshadowed by John’s crash,” Osborne-Paradis said.
“We just have to hope that everything is fine. We are going to miss having such a great skier on our team.
“But we have a strong team in that you have to fight just to qualify for an Olympic spot.”
Osborne-Paradis, who won a World Cup downhill event in Norway last season but had never finished better than 13th in super-G, clocked a winning time of one minute 32.93 seconds.
He finished more than a second clear of Benjamin Raich and his fellow Austrian Michael Walchhofer, last season’s World Cup downhill champion.