Rok Perko out of downhill

KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia -- Two of the first three starters in the last training run for the men's Olympic downhill, Rok Perko of Slovenia and Brice Roger of France, were injured in crashes Saturday and will miss the race.

Perko, the first man down the hill, broke his nose when he fell, leaving blood streaming down his face and onto the snow. Perko landed awkwardly, with his skis splayed, coming off a little jump about 1½ minutes into his session. His detached from his boots and went flying. He slid down the hill, then hunched on his knees and leaned forward, his head resting on his gloves.

Slovenian Alpine director Dusan Blazic said Perko also had pain in his left shoulder and right calf muscle. Blazic complained that the people who treated Perko at a clinic in the athletes village only spoke Russian.

"They are very good doctors, but it's difficult to understand what they are saying," Blazic said.

Two spots after Perko, Roger seriously injured his right knee, tearing ligaments and breaking a bone, coach Patrice Morisod said.

"There was no problem with the course. It's a mistake and that is how it happens sometimes," Morisod said.

Guillermo Fayed will replace Roger for France in Sunday's race. Slovenia won't have a substitute for Perko.

The second starter, Marco Sullivan of the United States, also had problems, but felt fortunate to stay upright and ski to the finish.

"I just let my mind lapse for a second, and all of a sudden (my) skis hit together," Sullivan said, describing what happened as "a close call."

In all, 10 of 55 starters Saturday failed to finish.