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Knee injury likely to end season for Christine Sponring of Austria

Knee injury likely to end season for Christine Sponring of AustriaChristine Sponring of Austria will likely miss yet another competition season after blowing out her knee while training in Soelden, Austria, on Tuesday, Nov. 15.

‘Christine tore her cruciate ligaments on her right knee in training today and she is undergoing surgery tonight’ Austrian ski federation spokesman Jo Schmid told The Associated Press.

Sponring crashed during giant slalom training on the Soelden glacier, which hosted the alpine World Cup’s season opener in October.

“[She was] a little too early on the shift to the left,” Sponring’s coach Bernd Brunner told the Austrian Press Agency. “Therefore she let go of the ski for a short while, and in the process her outer ski got caught.”

Sponring was flown to the Innsbruck University clinic by helicopter.

The Tyrol native became one of Austria’s top prospects in 2001 at St. Anton, where she won the World Championships silver medal in the combined event (behind Martina Ertl of Germany). Sponring still had another year of junior status left at the time. She won the World Junior Championships slalom a few weeks after that.

Since then, Sponring has suffered a string of injuries. She tore knee ligaments and dislocated a shoulder in a downhill crash at St. Moritz, Switzerland, in December 2003, and nine months later she damaged her left thigh bones in a giant slalom training crash in Soelden.

Still, Sponring appeared close to getting back to top form, having finished fifth overall in the Europa Cup in 2004-05, and winning the Austrian national championship downhill in April.

The injury came just three days after another of Austria’s future stars saw his season end; Mario Scheiber blew his knee out during training in Canada.

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