Hefti to miss training after crash

Switzerland's Beat Hefti, the world's top ranked two-man bobsleigh pilot, will miss training for the Olympic competition after hitting his head in a crash on the track where a Georgian luger died last week.


Hefti, who won a bronze in Turin, was one of several crashes late Wednesday as training began down the Whistler track that is still in the spotlight after the death of Nodar Kumaritashvili last week.

"He went to the clinic and was checked over and released," International Bobsleigh Federation spokesman Don Krone said as training continued.

"His coach said he will miss training today but would train tomorrow and would take runs five and six to qualify for the two-man bobsleigh event. He will be good to go."

The 32-year-old Hefti crashed entering turn 12, which is nicknamed 50-50.

Australian brakeman Duncan Harvey was hoping to train on Thursday after being taken to hospital with a back complaint in another crash down the treacherous course.

"Harvey underwent X-rays and a CT scan after the sled crashed on turn five and the athlete and machine slid down the track," Mike Tancred, an Australian Olympic Commitee spokesman, said.

"Doctors gave him the all-clear but he suffered bruising to his lower back and has been told to rest."

The crashes have re-opened the debate about the safety of the Whistler track where bobsleighs will reach speeds of nearly 150kmh. However, the FITB said training crashes were common.

"This is not unusual for the Olympic Games Day One," Krone said. "At Park City in 2002, there were 17 crashes in heat one of official training.

"It's not untypical. It's a late evening. People are eager to get stuck into the Olympic Games. There were not very many teams that were not holding back at the start. They were attacking the track."

Latvian pilot Janis Minins was ruled out of the Olympic two-man bobsleigh on Thursday because of appendicitis, the FITB confirmed. Minins, who holds the Whistler course record, still hopes to go in the four-man event.

Follow the Winter Olympics 24/7 on British Eurosport (Sky 410 / Virgin 521) and EurosportHD (Sky 412) British Eurosport channels are streamed online via the Eurosport Player.

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