Park City, Utah Jan. 25, 2002 (USSA)--Emily Cook, reigning U.S. champion and the top American women's freestyle aerial skier, will bow out of the Olympics due to a foot injury suffered in training a week ago. Cook underwent tests Thursday which showed a greater scope of injury than originally thought, forcing her to drop out of the Games.
Cook qualified as the top American woman, winning the Dec. 31 U.S. Ski Team Gold Cup on the Olympic venue in Deer Valley. She was injured in a training crash in Lake Placid on Jan. 17.
According to U.S. Ski Team Medical Director Melinda Roalstad, tests by Dr. Tim Beals at the University of Utah hospital showed a fracture and dislocation to Cook's left foot, which will require surgery. In addition, damage was found in her right foot, as well. She is expected to have surgery in the next week.
In a personal statement, Cook expressed her regrets at having to drop out of the Olympics. "After seeing two specialists I have been told that I unfortunately will not be physically able to compete at the 2002 Olympic Games. Although I am personally disappointed, I am excited for my teammates both on the U.S. Freestyle team and the other U.S. Ski Teams. I look forwardto cheering everyone on with my father at my side starting Feb. 8th. I wanted to thank all the well-wishers and fans who have supported me and constantly send messages and e-mails, including my sponsors VISA, Bolle, Volkl and the U.S. Ski Team who have maintained their support throughout. I am looking forward to going through my rehabilitation and getting back for Summer training at the Utah Olympic Park. Now my goal is to make the 2006 U.S. Olympic team"
U.S. Ski Team officials indicated that they do anticipate filling another position on the Olympic team with Cook's departure. The U.S. can enter up to four persons in each discipline, with a total overall team size of 14. The Team did not have a timetable for adding person to the Olympic team.