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Herminator to Race Downhill at Worlds

ST. MORITZ, Switzerland Feb. 5, 2003 (AP)--Hermann Maier will compete in the downhill at the world championships after returning to competition last month following a motorcycle accident that nearly cost him his leg.

Maier, who has skied only six races since his comeback Jan. 14, was chosen on Wednesday for Austria's powerful five-man downhill team for Saturday's race.

Maier has not cracked the top five in the three downhills he has raced since his return. However, he won a World Cup super giant slalom on the notorious Hahnenkamm mountain last week after only two weeks back. He then was second behind compatriot Stephan Eberharter in the Super G at the worlds.

"I think with my result in Kitzbuehel and in Sunday's Super G it's fair that I should start," Maier said.

Maier was injured 18 months ago, thrown into a ditch after a car hit his motorcycle. He underwent seven hours of surgery and doctors said he was close to kidney failure and having his right leg amputated.

Each nation gets four berths in each discipline at the worlds. In addition, the defending champion gets a fifth spot.

Joining Maier on his nation's downhill team are defending champion Hannes Trinkl; World Cup overall and downhill champ Stephan Eberharter, the winner of five downhills this season and Sunday's Super G; Michael Walchhofer, runner-up four times; and Olympic champion Fritz Strobl.

Copyright (c) 2000 The Associated Press

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