Downhill skier Jan Hudec finished for season after tearing up knee

The Canadian Press ~ The News
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The best season of downhill skier Jan Hudec's career came to a painful end Tuesday when he tore up his right knee in a fall during training for this weekend's World Cup race in Wengen, Switzerland.

Hudec, a Calgary resident who won the opening World Cup downhill race of the season at Lake Louise, Alta., crashed hard in a section of the Wengen course where racers can reach speeds of 150 kilometres an hour, said Paul Kristofic, head coach of the Canadian men's ski team.

"He caught an edge there, something that is a bit flukey in that place but it can happen anywhere on the course," Kristofic said in a telephone interview. "At that speed he fell on his side. He had a pretty heavy impact there."

The early diagnosis is the 26-year-old ripped up the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee and broke his left thumb. It's the third time in his career Hudec has damaged his right ACL.

He was taken off the hill by helicopter to a local hospital where he was examined by Canadian team physician Dr. Bruce Moore.

Hudec, who is married and has an infant son, was later transported by car to Zurich. He is expected to fly to Canada on Wednesday and have his knee examined later this week by Dr. Robert Litchfield in London, Ont.

Kristofic said Hudec was frustrated by the injury managed to keep his sense of humour.

"He's disappointed but at the same time Jan is Jan," said Kristofic, who added the training was held under bright skies and on perfect snow conditions. "He's fairly light hearted and joked a little bit with me.

Geographic location: Wengen, Switzerland, Calgary Lake Louise Zurich Canada London, Ont.

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