Switzerland's Didier Cuche could miss the Vancouver Winter Olympics after breaking his right thumb in a World Cup giant slalom in Kranjska Gora on Friday during a bad crash.
Cuche, one of the top-favorites in that discipline and in Super-G and downhill, violently hit one of the last gates on his second run at the event in Slovenia and slid across the finish line on his back after losing his balance.
The HEAD racer had clocked the fastest intermediate time a few seconds prior that accident.
The Swiss Ski Federation said in a statement that the participation of his top champion at the Vancouver Games will depend on the severity of his injury and the success of the surgery planned on Saturday in Zurich.
Didier Defago suffered a similar injury last fall and had to rest several weeks prior getting back in his skis in November in Canada.
Cuche, the Super-G World Champion from Val d'Isère last year was driven back to Switzerland after his crash.
"More details regarding possible consequences for participation at the Olympic Winter Games will be available after the operation," the federation press office said in a press release.
The 35-year-old veteran is at the peak of his form, having won both the Super-G and downhill events of the famous Hahnenkamm races in Kitzbuehel, Austria, last week. Earlier this winter he has also been succesful in the opening giant slalom at Soelden and in the downhill at Lake Louise.
He has won a total of 13 World Cup races- six in downhill, four in Super-G and three in giant slalom, as well as an Olympic silver medal in Super-G at Nagano in 1998.
"It's bad injury yet we hope it will not prevent Didier to compete at Whistler in two weeks," said Mario Pini, one of his trainers. "He may be obliged to rest for a while but hew could be back on his skis in ten days if the operation goes well."
"He is a tough guy - last month he skied for several weeks with strong pains at his chest after breaking a rib in a crash at Val d'Isère," Pini added. "Let's hope."
This was also the comment of Didier prior leaving Kranjska Gora. The Swiss racer told the press he wanted to wait the result of the operation at the Schultess Clinic at Zurich before making his next plans. "Let's first see how things are going on," he said.
The men's downhill is the opening men’s Alpine Skiing event in Vancouver on February 13.