Canadian Jan Hudec, who just returned to racing from a right knee injury sustained last season, will now have to rehabilitate from a left knee injury after a crash in the World Championship downhill Saturday.Canadian Jan Hudec, who just returned to racing from a right knee injury sustained last season, will now have to rehabilitate from a left knee injury after a crash in the World Championship downhill Saturday.
With his teammate John Kucera – the eventual gold medal winner – already in the finish with a narrow lead, Hudec, charged out hard. Skiing in bib seven, he hit the highest speed recorded on the day, topping out at 132.02kph (82mph) before his crash. He leaned in and his skis bounced up off the snow, losing contact, and slid out from under him. He slid into the snow fence lining the course with one ski ejecting on impact and the second then catching in the fencing.
He extricated himself from the fence with some help and skied to the finish on one ski.
Hudec had just returned to the circuit after a crash at Wengen, Switzerland Jan. 8, 2008 when he blew out his right knee, tearing an ACL. This years Lauberhorn race at Wengen was his first since that injury and he finished eighth. The World Championship race was his second race since he tore his right ACL.
“I risked a little more than in the training runs,” Hudec said. “I knew I could have a great run today. I was feeling confident. My old injury feels strong. I ended up just getting back in one of the ruts and at that speed, on ice, only one thing gives, either the ski or the knee. In this case it was the knee.”
Hudec was flown home to Canada Sunday for a full evaluation. Canadian team officials said additional information would be released after that examination.