Collision fractures coach's leg, shatters U.S. skier's hopes


American downhiller Megan Gerety ran a ski-slope stop sign yesterday, probably knocking herself out of the Winter Olympics and leaving a Norwegian coach with a broken leg.

Gerety, 20, who was scheduled to ski in the women's combined downhill tomorrow, collided with coach Ole Magne Walaker when she skied down a closed training course.

"She nailed the guy, broke his leg clean," U.S. women's ski coach Paul Major said.

Gerety suffered a deep bruise and slight strain of her left knee, but her coach said those injuries likely would be enough to keep her out of the Games.

"This downhill is too tough for someone trying to ease their way down it because of an injury. It's just too dangerous for that," said Major.

Walaker was setting up pine boughs on the super-giant slalom training course to help skiers see where they're going, when Gerety came flying over a jump.

"It was just a mistake on her part and she feels really bad," Major said.

Ice dancer gets stitches

Canadian ice dancer Jacqueline Petr needed 22 stitches to close a cut on her calf after a practice accident yesterday, but no decision will be made until Thursday on whether she will be forced out of the competition that begins Friday.

Petr and her partner, Mark Janoschak, are Canadian national champions. They were practicing a difficult sequence when Petr was cut, said coach Roy Bradshaw.

"We were near the end of our training session and we had a little slip on a turn," Janoschak said. "It was a difficult move and we

both fell. Her right skate hit her left calf."

42nd and liking it

A former Olympic medalist and World Cup champion finishing in 42nd place isn't much to cheer about -- unless you're American cross country skier Bill Koch.

"I'm pretty pleased just to be here at the Olympics, and to be able to have raced and found out that I'm in the middle of the pack," Koch said.

Koch, who had retired in 1986, announced his comeback about 11 months ago and then made the U.S. team for the fourth time. It was his first major race since 1984.

"This is like my first Olympics; I've got Olympic fever," said Koch, who finished 8 minutes, 13.8 seconds behind Norwegian winner Vegard Ulvang.

Koch won a silver in the 30K at the 1976 Games in Innsbruck, Austria, for the only U.S. Olympic medal ever in cross country skiing.

He left the sport only to discover he still hungered for the the mental and physical tests of distance racing.

"I've got a big appetite for it, and I've got two years to satisfy it," Koch said. He hopes to make the 1994 Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway, when he will be 38.

A spy among them

German bobsledder Harald Czudaj, who admitted spying on teammates for the East German secret police, will be allowed to compete after a plea for leniency by other German athletes.

They wrote a letter to delegation chief Willi Daume saying they had not suffered any wrong because of Czudaj's links with the Stasi, but they could suffer now if Czudaj, favored to win a medal in the four-man bobsled, was banned.

After a meeting of delegation officials, Daume announced they had decided unanimously to allow Czudaj to compete and considered the matter closed.

The quote

"No, never. The first time around was a privilege; the second time around would be suicide." Jean-Claude Killy, co-president of the organizing committee, when asked if he would do it again.

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