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Skiing champion dies after training crash

Regine Cavagnoud
Regine Cavagnoud suffered severe brain damage after a high-speed collision during a practice session on Sunday.  

VIENNA, Austria (CNN) -- French skier Regine Cavagnoud, the women's Super-G world champion, has died from severe brain injuries suffered in a high-speed training accident on Sunday.

"Yesterday in the evening and today in the morning, we made final examinations that made it very clear that the brain of Regine Cavagnoud was not working at all," Dr. Wolfgang Koller head of the trauma intensive care unit at the Innsbruck University Clinic said on Wednesday.

Cavagnoud was surrounded by her family when the respirator that was keeping her alive was switched off, Koller said.

The Frenchwoman, from La Clusaz, suffered severe brain damage and internal injuries after colliding with a trainer at 100 kilometres per hour during a practice session on the Pitz Valley glacier in Tyrol.

She needed resuscitation on the glacier after suffering temporary heart failure but was too weak to undergo further surgery on Tuesday.

German youth trainer Markus Anwander, who had crossed her track down the glacier, remains in a critical but stable condition. Doctors are due to operate on his spine later on Wednesday.

Cavagnoud, a customs officer by profession, won a gold medal in the super-G discipline at the world championships in St Anton in February and also finished third in last season's overall World Cup standings.

She had started the season by finishing third in Saturday's giant slalom at Soelden Austria, an impressive performance given Cavagnoud's preference for outright speed events.

Saturday's race also marked her comeback from injury after she suffered minor concussion and partially tore her left ankle ligament while training in Chile in August.

Cavagnoud is the first top-level skier to die as a result of a training or race accident since Austrian Ulrike Maier died in 1994 after crashing into a post during a World Cup downhill in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany.


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