- POSTED: 11 Jan 2014 01:58
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Olympic ski jumping champion Thomas Morgenstern of Austria was hospitalised Friday after suffering another serious crash during training at Tauplitz.
VIENNA: Olympic ski jumping champion Thomas Morgenstern of Austria was hospitalised Friday after suffering another serious crash during training at Tauplitz.
The spectacular fall, his second in a month, saw Morgenstern lose balance in mid-air and land heavily on his back and head before sliding lifelessly to the bottom of the slope.
The 27-year-old, one of Austria's leading gold medal hopes for the Sochi Winter Olympics which get underway on February 7, briefly lost consciousness and was taken to hospital where he was diagnosed with "serious skull injuries and a lung contusion," the Austrian ski federation (OeSV) said in a statement.
"Thomas Morgenstern is conscious and is speaking. He will remain under observation for another 72 hours in intensive care," it said.
"The next update ... will be made at Salzburg General Hospital on Monday at 9.00 am (0800 GMT)."
The doctor treating him, Josef Obrist, was quoted by the Austria Press Agency as saying that Morgenstern's life was not in danger.
"We still have to analyse what took place on video," team coach Alexander Pointner told Austrian television ORF.
"He didn't make any mistakes at take-off, but then the tips of his skis touched and he nosedived," OeSV ski jumping chief Ernst Vettori meanwhile told journalists.
"It's a difficult time for us all," he added.
Morgenstern, currently fifth in the World Cup standings, was taking part in the second training run ahead of Saturday's ski flying event on the Kulm slope in Tauplitz.
Unlike ski jumping's usual hill size of 130-140 metres (426-460 feet), ski flying takes place on a 200-metre hill, with jumpers soaring through the air after speeding down an icy track at up to 100 kilometre per hour (62 miles per hour).
Morgenstern already suffered a serious crash during the World Cup event in Titisee-Neustadt on December 15, which left him briefly unconscious in the landing area.
But he escaped with bruises and a broken finger and made an impressive comeback to finish second to new Austrian star Thomas Diethart at the Four Hills Tournament in Bischofshofen earlier this week.
A two-time overall World Cup winner, Morgenstern is one of the stars of the Austrian ski jumping team, winning individual and team gold at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin and team gold again in Vancouver four years later.