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Swiss Olympic bob team suffers another crash

A Swiss Olympic bobsled driver tapped to replace a teammate injured in a crash has suffered a crash as well and will not compete.

Driver Daniel Schmid, 34, withdrew on Friday from both the two- and four-man races. The two-man bobsled is scheduled to take place on Saturday. Schmid said in a statement he pulled out “for safety reasons”.

Schmid’s brakeman, 28-year-old Jürg Egger, was flown to hospital in Vancouver earlier in the week after the two capsized their sled during a training run.

On Wednesday, Swiss bobsledder Beat Hefti flipped his sled and had to pull out of the race after suffering a concussion. Schmid took his place and then crashed as well.

Hefti, a favourite, was one of eight to crash that day during training runs at the Whistler Training Center. At least 11 two-men bobsleds have spilled sideways in the first two days of training.

Crashes are common in bobsled events but following the death of a 21-year-old Georgian luger, some athletes are criticising the track’s design. They say it has too many curves stacked too closely together. One competitor called it “stupid fast”.

Olympic officials say the course is challenging and technical but that is what bobsled is all about. Other athletes have said the track is exhilarating.

The Swiss bobsled team has eight men and four women. Bobsledding is one of the most successful events for the Swiss after alpine skiing.

It is not certain whether Hefti, who won a bronze medal in the two-man four years ago at Turin, will start in the four-man event.

swissinfo.ch and agencies


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