Alpine Skiing: Stiff Neureuther to decide on giant slalom

Sun Feb 16, 2014 11:41am EST
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By Annika Breidthardt

ROSA KHUTOR, Russia (Reuters) - Felix Neureuther will decide on Tuesday whether he will ski Wednesday's giant slalom and may forfeit that race for his specialty, the slalom, he said on Sunday, his neck still visibly stiff after a car accident en route to Sochi.

Neureuther hit the crash barrier on an icy road on the way to Munich airport on Friday, suffering whiplash, bruised rips and pulled ligaments in his back, raising doubts over whether he can take part in his third Olympics.

"I will try to ski tomorrow, just to see whether it works. That's the first test. On Tuesday I will train... and I will decide whether it makes sense or not," said Neureuther, wearing a big scarf, his neck movement stilted and awkward.

"It makes little sense to race at any cost (on Wednesday) because the slalom on Saturday is the event where ...I have a bigger chance," the German said in his first news conference since arriving in Russia a day late on Saturday.

Despite having had an injury-plagued season, the 29-year- old would be one of the medal favorites in the giant slalom and a candidate for gold in the slalom.

"If I do start, there will be no excuses. ... If I start, then of course I know I could be faster than the others."

He is no stranger to success with injury, having won the prestigious Kitzbuehel slalom last month - one of three World Cup victories since the start of the year - with his thumb in a splint. He has also had back problems recently but said that was now no longer an issue.

"The construction site has moved up my back and is now in the upper spine," he said, moving as little as necessary. "The lower back is fine now."   Continued...

German alpine skier Felix Neureuther talks to the media after leaving a medical check with his doctor Hans-Wilhelm Mueller-Wohlfahrt in Munich February 14, 2014. REUTERS/Lukas Barth