Kaprun, Austria, Nov. 13, 2000--German teenager Sandra Schmitt, who won the dual moguls gold medal at the 1999 World Championships, andher family were among the victims Saturday in a tunnel fire.
Schmitt, 18, had completed the latest team preseason training camp and planned to go skiing with her family. Fire broke out while thecable-pulled rail car was entering a tunnel on Kitzsteinhorn Mountain south of Salzburg. Officials placed the death toll at about 170 victims.
Last season, Schmitt was third in both moguls and duals in the World Cup standings. She also won both the moguls and dual moguls titles at theWorld Junior Championships in Ovindoli, Italy.
"This is a terrible loss," said Tom Kelly, VP-Public Relations for the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association. Kelly, who was in Meiringen,Switzerland, when she collected her gold medal in 1999, added, "Sandra was an exciting, extremely talented young skier and she wasrevitalizing the German team. We're all deeply saddened by this tragedy."
Joe Fitzgerald, freestyle coordinator for the International Ski Federation, said, "The freestyle skiing community around the world is deeplysaddened with her passing just two weeks before the start of the World Cup season. She was one of the top technical mogul skiers in the worldand was sure to have a long and brilliant career."