Olympic skier's Iowa family saddened by athlete's injury - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Olympic skier's Iowa family saddened by athlete's injury

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US Olympic skier Heidi Kloser out of games after knee injury US Olympic skier Heidi Kloser out of games after knee injury
DUBUQUE COUNTY (KWWL) -

A US Olympic skier with eastern Iowa ties is out of the games, following a devastating knee injury.

21-year-old Heidi Kloser, of Colorado, still appeared with Team USA in Friday's opening ceremony, but torn knee ligaments and a femur fracture mean she will not be able to compete.

Keith Kloser lives in Dubuque County and was disappointed to learn his niece injured her leg and would not be competing in the 2014 Winter Olympics.

"I'm sure she'll get back on her feet and heal as the time requires and get back to training," Kloser said, adding these were, "unfortunate circumstances."

Heidi Kloser's dad Mike Kloser is a native Dubuquer. He grew up skiing the slopes of Sundown Mountain Ski Resort, in Dubuque County, alongside the man who is now Sundown's general manager, Mark Dietz.

"It almost brought tears to my eyes when I saw that she crashed in her training run and, you know, I had a lot of hopes and admiration for her to have made it that far," Dietz said. "She asked her parents, 'Am I still going to be considered an Olympian?' So her father, of course, reassured her that, 'Of course you are.'"

Kloser injured her right leg before a training run in Sochi, just minutes before her qualifying run.

She's a mogul skier. Moguls are small, closely-positioned mounds on the ski slope, around and over which mogul skiers navigate.

"It's a challenge to learn how to absorb and extend over the backs of them, and, as you see on the Olympic coverage, it's about speed, it's about how fast they can go," Dietz said. "These are quite the athletes that are able to negotiate those trails."

Sundown Mountain has a small section of moguls, though they aren't as big or intense as the ones in the Olympics. Still, Sundown ski patrol member Jack Blosch said, they're not for beginners.

"They shouldn't be in here," Blosch said, standing in Sundown's mogul area. "It's really not for that. It's for the better skier. And the signs say, 'Most difficult,' and people seem to ignore the signs and away they go."

While Sundown Mountain is for recreation, not Olympic training, skiers and snowboarders alike can get a taste there of what they see while watching the Winter Games, which, unfortunately, will not include Kloser this time around.

"She's been training most of her life for this scenario," her uncle said. "She's looked forward to it all her life."

The family hopes Kloser will be able to compete in the next Winter Games.

Other olympians with local ties include Zemgus Girgensons, who played for two seasons with the Dubuque Fighting Saints, from 2010 to 2012. He's playing hockey for Latvia's Olympic team.

Also, Matt Antoine, of nearby Prairie du Chien, Wis., will be competing in the skeleton event.

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