Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Sports in brief

alpine skiing

Related News/Archive

air bag in ski suit saves racer from serious harm

VAL GARDENA, Italy — In less than a tenth of a second, safety in ski racing took a huge leap forward Saturday.

That was the time it took for a radical air bag system to inflate and prevent Olympic champion Matthias Mayer from serious injury during a nasty crash at the Val Gardena World Cup downhill.

The Austrian lost control on the Saslong course, spun around and flew down the hill backward in midair. Before he landed on his right side, the air bag vest under his race suit inflated and softened his landing.

It was the first time an air bag inflated during a World Cup race.

"A crash can never be something favorable," International Ski Federation (FIS) technical expert Gunter Hujara said. "(But) maybe we have seen here he was saved from a spine injury today."

After medical attention on the slope, Mayer was airlifted to a hospital in Bolzano. Mayer fractured a vertebra and likely will be sidelined for a month, the Austrian team said. He was to be transferred to Innsbruck, Austria, for more exams.

"It proved the air bag has an important place in speed skiing," Austrian winter sports federation director Hans Pum said.

Mayer initially had trouble breathing, race organizers said, but Hujara spoke to Mayer on the slope and said the breathing problem was not due to the air bag.

The air bag system has been in development by Italian manufacturer Dainese and the FIS for years, and a handful of athletes started wearing it during races only recently.

Women's downhill: Lara Gut of Switzerland narrowly beat countrywoman Fabienne Suter to win a World Cup race at Val d'Isere, France, and American Lindsey Vonn said she wasn't "feeling great" after she skied off the course. Vonn looked well-placed to take the lead when she went up on the inside of her left ski. She kept her balance and stayed upright as she glided on her right ski. Vonn, who has recovered from a career-threatening knee injury and two operations, didn't speak to reporters. She later posted on Twitter, "Not feeling great. Going to rest and hopefully I will be able to race tomorrow."


horses: Richies Sweetheart ($13.40) won the Lightning City Stakes, one of three $100,000 stakes held at Tampa Bay Downs in Oldsmar. Favorite Ishaq ($3.40) captured the Inaugural, and Hidden Treat ($16.20) prevailed in the Sandpiper.

soccer: Guus Hiddink returned to Chelsea for a second spell as manager, hired until the end of the season with the task of turning round the struggling defending English Premier League champions after Jose Mourinho's firing last week. Chelsea responded to Mourinho's departure by beating Sunderland 3-1 at home. Captain John Terry used his program notes to deny that "player power" had forced Mourinho out. The team cited a "palpable discord" with players for the firing. Manchester United — owned by the Glazer family, which owns the Bucs — lost its second game in a row, 2-1 at home to Norwich. Surprise league leader Leicester beat host Everton 3-2, meaning it will be atop the standings on Christmas Day with 38 points. It becomes the first club to have been at the bottom of the standings on Dec. 25 in one season and on top the next Christmas Day.

Don Jensen, Times correspondent; Times wires

Sports in brief 12/19/15 [Last modified: Saturday, December 19, 2015 11:33pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Storm routs Cleveland


    TAMPA — Alvin Ray Jackson intercepted two passes, returning one for a touchdown, and recovered two fumbles as the Storm routed Cleveland 57-27 Saturday night in its home regular-season finale at Amalie Arena.

  2. Miscue sends Rays to another stinging loss to Rangers (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays gave away DJ Kitty onesies Saturday night. Then they gave away the game.

    Rays centerfielder Mallex Smith misses a drive hit by Adrian Beltre with two outs in the sixth, allowing the tying runs to score. Beltre puts Texas ahead 4-3 when he scores after two wild pitches.
  3. Rowdies shut out Charleston


    ST. PETERSBURG — The Rowdies know a thing or two about stalemates, with five of their past 10 games ending in a draw.

    Rowdies in the first half during the game between Tampa Bay Rowdies and the Charleston Battery at Al Lang Field in St. Petersburg, Fla., on Saturday, Jul 22, 2017.
  4. Rays journal: Former closer Sergio Romo acquired from Dodgers

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays made a move to help the bullpen Saturday night when they acquired RHP Sergio Romo, who had been designated for assignment last week by the Dodgers.

    Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Jake Odorizzi (23) throwing in the first inning of the game between the Boston Red Sox and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Friday, July 7, 2017.
  5. Dale Earnhardt Jr. backs wife's "not worth risk'' opinion on Daytona

    Auto racing

    INDIANAPOLIS — Dale Earnhardt Jr. on Saturday defended his wife's Twitter post — and blamed himself for putting her in a position where she believed she had to speak out and upset some of his fans.

    Amy Earnhardt worries about Dale Jr.’s concussions.