Italian ski jumpers out of Olympics after practice accidents

The Italian ski jumping team has suffered a major blow just days before the start of the Olympics: Two team members were knocked out of the games after suffering falls during training. Marco Beltrame and Stefano Chiapolino were injured in separate falls while attempting landings Monday at Predazzo in Val di Fiemme.

Beltrame's injuries did not appear to be serious at first, but he fainted before dinner Monday night and was taken to the hospital, where his spleen was removed.

Chiapolino broke his nose and needed stitches after getting cuts on his face.

The injuries were not thought to be career-threatening.

The head coach of the Italian Nordic Combined team, Fabio Morandini, blamed the falls on technical mistakes, but top Italian ski jumper Sebastian Colloredo blamed the mishaps on the slopes in Predazzo.

"We are really upset," Colloredo said. "I saw both falls, it was horrible. It was the fault of the slopes in Predazzo.

The injuries leave Italy with three ski jumpers.

The Italian Olympic Committee said the two injured jumpers could still be replaced, adding that it was looking into whether other athletes meet the technical and qualifying standards required. A decision was expected by Wednesday or Thursday, reports the AP.


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