Kildow wants to race
San Sicario, Italy ” While Lindsey Kildow was being released from a hospital in Torino, Italy, on Tuesday morning, her teammates said her name hasn’t been taken off the start list for Wednesay’s Olympic downhill.
“I know the coaches and a lot of people were talking to her and she definitely said not to take her off the board,” said Kildow’s U.S. Teammate Kirsten Clark, after she placed 20th in training on Tuesday in San Sicario. “So, she’s wanting to come back out and race, which is great.”
After placing the second-fastest result in training on Sunday, Kildow caught an edge and crashed going 50 mph in Monday’s training run. She was airlifted to a hospital in Torino where Vail Valley Medical Center doctor Bill Sterett diagnosed her with no serious injuries ” only a bruised hip.
She was kept overnight and released Tuesday morning. In an interview with Reuters, former U.S. Olympic silver medalist Picabo Street said she’d been to visit Kildow and that the 21-year-old was “really good,” but felt as if “someone wound up and hit her with a big, old 4 x 4.”
U.S. Team coaches will decide if Kildow is fit to race on Wednesday. Since she missed Tuesday’s training ” which determines Wednesday’s first 30 start positions “she is listed now to start at No. 31. Coaches say her name will remain on the start list while U.S. Olympic medical personnel help her through her recovery.
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“We want to give Lindsey every opportunity to ski in the downhill,” said U.S. Alpine Program Director Jesse Hunt. “She’ll be on our start list along with Kirsten Clark, Stacey Cook and Julia Mancuso.”
Hunt said that the decision on racing in the downhill is now up to Kildow and the U.S. medical staff, which will continue to assess Kildow’s physical ability to compete. Kildow has before the race start at noon Wednesday to make the decision. If she does not race, just the remaining three racers ” Clark, Cook and Mancuso ” will represent the U.S. on Wednesday.
“Everything is new at this point,” Hunt said. “Give her another 24 hours. We factor in every scenario we possibly can. The reality is, Lindsey’s going to give us a real good idea where she is. She’s really excited to get back out there. Certainly now that she knows she has a chance, she’s hoping she feels better in the morning.”
Many of those who saw Kildow crash questioned how well she could possibly do, even if she’s able to race.
“Hermann Maier did it,” Hunt said, referring to the Austrian’s horrific crash in the 1998 Olympic downhill, from which he returned a few days later to take gold in the Olympic super-G and GS events.
“It’s been done before.”
Kildow has won two World Cup downhills this season, and is ranked No. 2 in the World Cup downhill standings. She came into the Games as one of America’s No. 1 prospects for a medal.
“Lindsey is one of the top athletes on our team,” Hunt said. “She was our first objective (Olympic) qualifier. We want to leave the door open. If she feels well enough, we want to give her that opportunity.”