Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Injury and falls cost Australian skaters Olympic places

Australia’s hopes of sending a figure skating contingent to the Vancouver 2010 Games appear to be over after a disappointing qualifying tournament in Germany over the weekend.

After arriving at the Nebelhorn Trophy with strong hopes of securing their first Olympic team opportunity, the ice dancing duo of Danielle O’Brien and Greg Merriman were unable to skate at all after Merriman was hospitalised with a pericarditis heart infection prior to the competition.

With no result from the event, they now have no avenue to the Games, a devastating outcome for the Sydney pair.

The Oberstdorf event went little better for fellow Olympic Winter Institute ladies skater Cheltzie Lee, as she finished in 15th place overall and in tenth position among those trying to qualify, making her fourth emergency for Vancouver.

Lee was lying in 13th place after the short program, but falls on her triple lutz and double axel in the free program cost the 16-year-old Sydney skater two places.

Although it is likely some spots in the Games field may open up as nations decide not to send their full complement of skaters and as injury takes a toll, Lee’s chances look slim.

Should she miss out, it will be the first time since the 1972 Sapporo Olympics that Australia has not had figure skating representation at a Winter Games.


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