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Hermannator returns to slopes


With slightly less titanium holding him up than The Terminator, the Hermannator – Austria’s Hermann Maier – returned to the slopes on Dec. 21, after a motorcycle crash last August threatened to end his career.

A two-time world champion and Olympic champion, Maier is arguably the most dominant ski racer of his generation. On the rehabilitation trail for the past four months, Maier took an early morning run down the Achterjet course in his hometown of Flachau, Austra – his first time back on skis since the accident.

"I’m surprised it went so well," he told reporters.

Maier was hit by a car while riding his motorcycle on Aug. 24. He was pinned under his bike in a ditch. He underwent more than six hours of surgery to repair his right leg. At one point doctors were afraid they might have to amputate the leg.

His lower right leg is being supported by titanium rods, and a skin graft was needed to repair his shin. He will have to use a specially padded ski boot in the future to protect the graft.

There is no word as to where and when the 29 year old will return to ski racing, although he has said that he won’t be competing in the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in February.