DOWN­HILL skier dies

Pois­son won down­hill bronze at 2013 worlds

Lethbridge Herald - - FRONT PAGE - Sa­muel Petrequin THE ASSOCIATED PRESS — PARIS

French down­hill skier David Pois­son died fol­low­ing a train­ing crash at Nakiska on Mon­day

French down­hill skier David Pois­son, a for­mer medal­list at the world cham­pi­onships, died on Mon­day fol­low­ing a train­ing crash in Canada. He was 35.

The French Ski Fed­er­a­tion said Pois­son, who won the down­hill bronze medal at the 2013 worlds, was train­ing in the Cana­dian re­sort of Nakiska for World Cup races in North Amer­ica. The fed­er­a­tion did not elab­o­rate.

An of­fi­cial with emer­gency med­i­cal ser­vices from nearby Cal­gary said a call came in mid­morn­ing Mon­day.

“When we ar­rived we as­sessed an in­di­vid­ual and de­ter­mined him de­ceased on scene,” said Cal­gary EMS spokesman Adam Lo­ria.

“There was no chance for a hos­pi­tal. We ini­tially called out STARS (air am­bu­lance) but once we made the de­ter­mi­na­tion we did stand the he­li­copter down.”

Al­berta RCMP said in a re­lease that the French skier had died “as a re­sult of in­juries re­ceived af­ter the skier caught an edge and crashed through the safety net­ting strik­ing a tree.”

“Med­i­cal per­sonal and team doc­tor were at the scene im­me­di­ately af­ter the ac­ci­dent but were un­able to re­sus­ci­tate him,” the re­lease said.

French sports min­is­ter Laura Fles­sel ex­pressed her “sad­ness” and said she will look care­fully into the cir­cum­stances of the crash.

Pois­son, a bulky racer with a broad smile nick­named “Cail­lou” (“small stone”), was a pop­u­lar fig­ure on the World Cup cir­cuit.

He se­cured his only World Cup podium in 2015 when he came third in the Santa Ca­te­rina down­hill in Italy, and was fourth in the pres­ti­gious Kitzbue­hel down­hill in 2013. He also com­peted in the last Win­ter Olympics, and hoped to qual­ify for the Pyeongchang Games.

The International Ski Fed­er­a­tion ex­pressed its con­do­lences to Pois­son’s fam­ily and friends in a state­ment, prais­ing “a re­spected and ac­com­plished ath­lete on the World Cup tour ever since his de­but in 2004.”

Mem­bers of Canada’s ski com­mu­nity also ex­pressed their sor­row.

“Send­ing love and sup­port to Pois­son’s fam­ily, team and the en­tire ski rac­ing com­mu­nity...David’s tragic ac­ci­dent is felt at the deep­est level,” Tweeted Ker­rin LeeGard­ner a for­mer World Cup alpine ski racer and Olympic gold medal­list from Canada.

Kelly Van­der­Beek, an­other for­mer mem­ber of Canada’s Olympic alpine ski team, said she was “in shock” at news of Pois­son’s death.

“My heart goes out to the en­tire com­mu­nity, but es­pe­cially his fam­ily, friends, and all those who loved him,” Van­der­Beek said Mon­day in a tweet.

Amer­i­can ski racer Steven Ny­man tweeted: “My heart goes out to David Pois­son’s fam­ily, friends and team­mates. He was a good man, a beast and a friend. I will miss him. The whole World Cup Tour will miss him.”

Pois­son’s death came 16 years af­ter su­per-G world cham­pion Regine Cav­agnoud, a prom­i­nent French skier, died in Aus­tria from brain in­juries fol­low­ing a col­li­sion in train­ing.

“There is no word for that,” for­mer French down­hiller Luc Al­p­hand told L’Equipe news­pa­per. “Elim­i­nat­ing risk en­tirely in down­hill is im­pos­si­ble.”

An of­fi­cial with Re­sorts of the Cana­dian Rock­ies, which op­er­ates Nakiska, said it is open only for pri­vate race train­ing at this time of year for the high level ath­letes pre­par­ing for the World Cup sea­son.

Matt Mosteller said a num­ber of teams, in­clud­ing France, were us­ing the fa­cil­ity.

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