Winter Olympics: Flame jumper's bad fall

Click to follow
THERE was a sharp reminder of the dangers of the sports that will be on show in Lillehammer for the next 16 days, when the athlete practising for the centrepiece of the Winter Olympics opening ceremony was badly injured and ended the day in intensive care in hospital.

Ole Gunnar Fidjestoel was due to ski-jump into the Olympic arena carrying the Olympic flame as the highlight of the celebrations tomorrow, but the rehearsal went disastrously wrong when he lost his balance in mid-air and fell badly as he sped down the landing slope. Doctors said he would remain in intensive care overnight after suffering concussion, brief amnesia and a twisted neck. He had made the jump successfully 15 times before, and his understudy, Stein Gruben, who will make the leap tomorrow, completed a practice run happily.

One thing that did run happily yesterday was the first practice session for the high-point of the Games, the men's downhill on Sunday. Hannes Trinkl of Austria, who has won two races this season, was quickest on the specially designed course, which met with general approval. 'It seems difficult. I think it's good for everybody,' Marc Girardelli, the double silver medallist of two years ago, said.

Times, Sporting Digest, page 36