The Canadian ski team took another blow Thursday when veteran Kelly VanderBeek suffered a suspected torn ACL in her left knee during World Cup downhill training.
VanderBeek, 26, is the third Canadian skier this week and the fourth in less than a month to be injured. She finished fourth in the super-giant slalom at the 2006 Turin Olympics and was considered a medal threat at the 2010 Games.
VanderBeek will fly home for more examination Friday.
Coaches who watched video of VanderBeek’s fall said she got back on her skis when hitting some ripples on the snow. Her right ski got caught, but she got it back down on the snow. It caught again, then got twisted, causing the fall.
The Kitchener, Ont., native, who now lives in Chilliwack, B.C., was taken off the hill on a stretcher.
“This is a heartbreaking situation for the athletes, their families and all their supporters,” Alpine Canada president Gary Allan said in a statement. “They all appreciate the support that Canadians have shown.”
VanderBeek’s fall comes one day after Larisa Yurkiw, 21, of Owen Sound, Ont., suffered a suspected torn ACL and MCL in her knee after a crash in downhill training at Val d’Isere.
Max Gartner, Alpine Canada’s chief athletics officer who is with the men’s team in Val Gardena, Italy, spoke with the women’s coaches at Val d’Isere to determine why the Canadians are being hurt.
“It’s not like there’s half the field going down,” said Gartner. “At the moment it seems to be us.
“We’re kind of trying to assess what frame of mind the other athletes are. It seems like the first indication from the other athletes is they want to race. We just have to make sure it’s safe.”
John Kucera of Calgary, who won the downhill gold medal at last year’s world championships, broke his leg last month in the first super-G race of the World Cup season.
Jean-Philippe Roy of Ste-Flavie, Que., a giant slalom specialist, ripped up his knee Sunday in a World Cup race at Val d’Isere and is scheduled to have surgery today in London, Ont. Both men will miss the Olympics.
There have been a rash of injuries among World Cup skiers this season, prompting a meeting Wednesday involving athletes, coaches and officials with the International Ski Federation.