den’s Lars Boerje Eriksson broke a leg and Norway’s Lasse Kjus cut his lip and lost two teeth in spills during practice for the World Championship downhill today, creating new concerns about the safety of the course.
Eriksson, a giant slalom and Super-G specialist, was hurt when he sped off the course and tumbled over several times on the hard, icy track. Eriksson, winner of two World Cup races in 1989, was taken by helicopter to a hospital.
Kjus was taken to the same hospital for X-rays after he fell in the very same place as Eriksson, about the midpoint of the course. The Norwegian skier went off the track at full speed, skidded through the nets and crashed into the crowd. No spectators were injured.
A Norwegian team official said the nets had not been fixed properly after being damaged by another skier who skidded off the course during Friday’s practice run for Sunday’s race.
In the women’s combined event today, Sabine Ginther was fastest in the downhill portion, but her Austrian teammate Petra Kronberger was in excellent position to win the combined title. Ginther completed the course in 1 minute, 18.23 seconds to edge Kronberger by more than a third of a second.
The slalom portion of the event, which will be run next Thursday, is counted more heavily than the downhill in determining the combined winner, and Kronberger is the top female slalomer.