Bennett's Olympic hopes end in head-on car crash

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Alex Bennett's hope of competing in the Olympics in Atlanta have been ended by a head-on car crash. Bennett, who swims for the Nottingham-based Nova Centurian Club, broke both her legs and ankles and damaged a knee, a hip and one foot in the accident on Monday night.

Bill Furniss, her coach and the England senior coach, yesterday admitted: "Realistically we have to accept that the Atlanta dream has gone. Alex has been swimming better than at any time in her life and had realistic hopes of not only making the Olympic team but also doing well in Atlanta. But in the long term, she's 19 and can come back."

Bennett, who was on her way to a regular evening training session when the accident occurred near her Nottingham home, won a gold medal in the 4 x 100m at the 1994 Commonwealth Games and is the national champion at 400m freestyle. Bennett, who first competed for England when she was 13, also swims butterfly and is a member of the medley relay team.

She had postponed going to university in order to be able to commit 20 hours a week to her training schedule in an attempt to make the most of her Olympic opportunity.