Majdic rejects responsibility

Bruised and battered with five broken ribs, Slovenia's Petra Majdic rejected suggestions by the International Ski Federation that she was responsible for her training accident before the women's Olympic 1.4km sprint.

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The bubbly Slovenian, who had been a red-hot medal favourite for the cross-country skiing event, hit a patch of ice on a corner in a warm-up run last week before plunging down a hill into a gully.

Majdic considered pulling out before going on to produce one of the most poignant moments of the Vancouver Games by defying medical advice and excruciating pain to battle through three races and clinch the bronze.

"I will just say that I am second in the World Cup overall (rankings) and I am the number one in sprints, so I can ski," the 30-year-old said.

"They (FIS) cannot tell me that I took the wrong curve. Maybe it was my fault that I fell down but it was not my fault that I crashed from the cliff on to the rocks."

Slovenia filed a complaint with the International Olympic Committee, VANOC (Games organisers) and FIS because of "too dangerous" track conditions, although officials later found no grounds for concern.

In a statement, FIS said the corner where the accident occurred had "did not present unusual risks".

It added: "No other incidents occurred in the section of the course during training or the competition."

Former Norwegian Olympic skier Vegard Ulvang, chairman of the cross country committee for FIS, said: "The place where she fell ... she didn't follow the ideal line.

"It was nine metres wide there and in the competition you would have been four metres away from that hole."

Majdic, who has piled up 15 World Cup wins in a glittering career, felt the decision by event organisers to protect the hole after the Slovenian's crash blunted their own argument.

"If they are saying that nothing is wrong, then why every day is this part more and more secure," she said.

"I don't agree with that. It happened to me and no one has apologised for what happened. I will not agree that it was my fault."

Majdic, whose competitive career may now be over, was unsure whether she would take further action against organisers or the sport's governing body following her training accident.

"We haven't spoken much about that yet because for the last four days I was almost all the time in pain in the hospital," said the Slovenian, ranked the top women's sprinter for the last three years.

"I don't know what we will do. The emotions are too strong, the pain too. My wish is not to sue the organisers or get a bunch of money.

"My wish is to show we are not gladiators. We must all be responsible for our actions. It is not to say: 'It was your fault.' It was all our faults."

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