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Sunday, February 1, 1998 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Winter Sports / Road To Nagano -- Street Crashes, Expected To Be OK For Olympics -- Binding Problem At 75 Mph Leaves Her With Concussion

AP

ARE, Sweden - Picabo Street, the two-time World Cup downhill champion and the top U.S. Olympic hope in that discipline, suffered bruises, an injured neck and a slight concussion during a scary crash yesterday.

Street, returning to the Olympia course where she won a World Cup race in 1995, fell on the upper part after a ski binding released prematurely. The crash - Street's estimated speed was nearly 75 mph - occurred on the fastest and most dangerous part of the course. She was unconscious for about two minutes, but walked away from the accident. She was taken by helicopter to a local hospital.

"She's a little dizzy," Herwig Demschar, U.S. women's coach, said. "But for me the most important thing is that the legs are OK because it's always a mental problem if you have the first crash after an injury, if you're OK or not."

Street came back last month after knee surgery sidelined her for more than a year.

Demschar said Street would return as planned with the U.S. team to the United States today. She'll be back on skis again Feb. 7 in Japan. The women's Olympic downhill is scheduled Feb. 14 at Nagano.

Katja Seizinger of Germany won the race, extending her lead in both the overall and downhill standings.

Schifferer wins downhill

GARMISCH-PARTENKIRCHEN, Germany - Austria's Andreas Schifferer won his fourth World Cup downhill of the season, establishing himself as the gold medal favorite for the Olympics.

"Sure, the win gives me confidence and I'm in good form," Schifferer said of his chances at Nagano. "But form doesn't count, a medal does."

Schifferer finished in 1 minute, 54.82 seconds.

Fedorov to play

MOSCOW - Sergei Fedorov of the Stanley Cup champion Detroit Red Wings will join Russia's Olympic hockey team, replacing injured Alexei Kovalev of the New York Rangers. Alexander Steblin, president of the Russian Ice Hockey Federation, said Fedorov called and offered to be a substitute.

Notes

-- Ex-alpine ski racers Betsy Shaw of East Dorset, Vt., and Sondra Van Ert of Ketchum, Idaho, 32-year-old "old ladies in a kid's sport," earned spots on the first U.S. Olympic Snowboarding Team with top results in the final qualifying race in Mammoth Lakes, Calif. Shaw won the women's giant slalom, with Canadian Julie Rheaume second and Van Ert third.

Canadian Jasey Jay Anderson won the men's GS; Adam Hostetter of Tahoe City, Calif., and Mike Jacoby of Hood River, Ore., a former World Cup champion, clinched berths by finishing third and fourth.

-- Weather forecasters say Nagano probably will have an average amount of snow for the Olympics. Heavy snows, however, fell this month. Yesterday, a blizzard left more than a foot of new snow at the base of the men's downhill course.

-- Michael Dionne, a member of the U.S. bobsled team, plans to appeal his suspension for the stimulant ephedrine, which showed up in a drug test in November. Bob Condron, the U.S. team press operations director, said the Court of Arbitration for Sport would have arbitrators at the Games and could hear the case before the Olympics.

Copyright (c) 1998 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

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