Sabine Ginther of Austria, one of the stars in women's skiing and a possible triple Olympic medalist, broke a bone in her back during practice Tuesday and will miss the Winter Games.
Ginther, who turned 22 last week, had her medal hopes shattered when she came off a jump and crashed heavily, her back absorbing most of the impact as she bounced down an icy slope.
"She must go home (today) because it's a problem with her back," Austrian downhill coach Franz Kolhuber said. "It's the end of the season for her."
Austrian Press Association, quoting team physician Karl Benedetto, described the injury as a lumbar vertebra fracture. Kolhuber said Ginther would be flown to Innsbruck for examination.
The accident was similar to one involving Wendy Fisher, 20, of Incline Village, Nev., one of the U.S. ski team's young slalom skiers. Fisher tumbled some 140 feet off the same jump, slamming her head into the hard snow. She suffered a mild concussion and also broke her left thumb and strained both knees and will not compete in the Games.
Ginther and Fisher were practicing for today's combined downhill.