British champion is killed

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The Independent Online

Kirsteen McGibbon, a promising 20-year-old British downhill skier, was killed yesterday when she lost control on an icy section while training in Altenmarkt, Austria.

McGibbon, from Glasgow, in her first season as a member of the British team, died from head injuries and internal bleeding after falling and hitting the safety netting. The death was the first of a British skiier in international competition.

"From what we know, she hit a major turn which was quite icy and lost it," Mike Jardine, the British Ski Federation spokes- man, said. McGibbon was taken by helicopter to the Schwarzach Hospital near Salzburg where she was pronounced dead.

The accident was on the same World Cup track where the Austrian World Cup skier Peter Wirnsberger was killed in a non-competitive skiing accident more than three years ago.

McGibbon, the British downhill champion, fell on her second training run on the course and was part of a 20-strong British team training for the Lowlander Championships - two levels of competition below the World Cup circuit - which is due to start today.

This latest tragedy comes almost exactly two years after the Austrian Ulrike Maier was killed in a fall in a World Cup downhill at Garmisch- Parten- kirchen in Germany. The most recent death before that was that of another Austrian, Gernot Reinstadler, in training at Wengen in Switzerland in 1991. There have been 11 connected with racing since 1959.