Less than four days after finishing seventh in the womens combined event at the World Ski Championships in St. Anton, Austria, Emily Brydons rookie season ended with a crash in a soft snow section of the downhill.
The Fernie skier, having a phenomenal rookie season, caught an edge at full speed in the Feb. 6 downhill and flew into the safety netting, tearing three ligaments in her right knee.
The 20 year old will be sidelined for an estimated six month while she undergoes surgery and rehabilitates her anterior cruciate, medial collateral and lateral collateral ligaments. Her meniscus was also damaged in the fall. She was taken to a nearby hospital for treatment, and will undergo surgery in Vancouver immediately after her return.
Brydon netted a World Cup downhill bronze earlier this season at St. Moritz, Switzerland, and has several top 10 and top 15 finishes to her credit. At the time of the accident she was ranked 24 th in the overall FIS World Cup standings.
Brydon wasnt the only skier to have problems in the womens downhill. A combination of high winds, flat light, deep ruts and changing snow conditions knocked five women out of the race. A heavy blizzard Feb. 2-3 postponed the race for two days while the Austrian army laboured around the clock the push more than 100,000 tons of snow off the race courses at St. Anton.
Melanie Turgeon of Beauport, Quebec, had problems of her own after posting the fastest time in the final training run.
"This is the end of a rough week," said the 24 year old, who is currently ranked 13 th on the overall World Cup list with a bronze and two silver medals. She finished 14 th in the downhill.
"The snow conditions were different today and the visibility was not too good. I couldnt see anything coming down. I made a mistake at the top and I tried to recover all the way down. I went as much to the limit as I could but it was too much to recover."
Michaela Dorfmeister gave the medal-starved Austrian crowd something to cheer about as she led a home country sweep of the downhill podium. Renate Goetschl, the defending world champion, finished second, and Selina Heregger was third.
Previous to the downhill, Brydon was ranked seventh in the combined contest, the best performance for a Canadian athlete since Michelle McKendy finished seventh in 1991. Britt Janyk of Whistler was on pace to break the top five in the slalom event, but straddled a gate in sight of the finish.
"That sort of thing happens in the slalom," said the 20 year old. "I laid it all on the line and went out. I wanted to ski my fastest on the second run, I didnt want to just finish. I felt very solid on my skis but was caught on my inside edge going into a combination."
The mens downhill, Feb. 7, provided more medals for the host Austrian team, and more disappointment for the Canadians.
Hannes Trinkl claimed the gold medal, while teammate Hermann Maier took the silver. German newcomer Florian Eckert took the bronze.
Edi Podivinsky was the top Canadian, 2.64 seconds off Trinkls pace in 16 th place. Darin McBeath of Calgary was 19 th and Luke Sauder wound up 21 st .
With the snowstorm delaying all of the competitions, the world ski championships will wrap up later this week.