Skiing: Safety first for Olympic piste

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The Independent Online
POTENTIAL hazards on the Olympic downhill course will be protected by extra padding after the death of Ulrike Maier.

Officials of the international federation, FIS, also announced yesterday that they were likely to do something about reducing speeds generally in races like the downhill and super-gaint slalom.

Svein Mundal, in charge of the Olympic piste at Kvitfjell north of Lillehammer, said 100,000 Norwegian Kroner (about pounds 9,000) had been spent on additional mats. He said FIS safety experts would be paying even more attention to the course because of Maier's death.

The mats, which are about 10in thick, have been added to padding around television towers, intermediate time gates and snowmaking equipment. Maier crashed by a post for a timing device.

Marc Hodler, the president of FIS, said the federation had to analyse what happened in Maier's accident. 'We were all very much surprised by this accident. We don't know if it was the snow, the skis, the equipment. We are studying it.'