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To protect up & coming athletes - a goal of this website is that the US Olympic Committee be required to report accidents when an athlete is left incapacitated in overseas competition.
Catastrophic Injury - Athens, Greece - Olympic Test Event Racing Area - Summer 2002
The US Sailing Team elite athlete could give no statement. She was comatose - near death from blunt trauma head injury/near drowning.
The New Zealand Olympic Sailing Team coach swore to Greek police that the accident was the US athlete's fault. The police filed report: accident was athlete's own fault.
A likely result of near drowning, pneumonia set in after a few days. For over 2 weeks, the comatose US athlete was kept in Athens, Greece hospitals.
No accident/evidence report was made by the athlete's national governing body - US Sailing - or the US Olympic Committee.
Fortunately, the USOC elite athlete survived the extended stay in Greek hospitals.
Unfortunately, the coach's statement is contradicted by later-discovered facts which appear to establish that the powerboat ran over the US athlete while she was stopped sitting on her board.
Athlete Kim Birkenfeld woke up over a month later in US hospital. She never regained use of her arms. Training for how to breathe, speak and walk is a never-ending process.
At the time of the 2002 accident, she held #1 ranking on the US Sailing Team in the sport of Olympic-class windsurfing, training for Athens 2004. But that day was her last day to be an athlete.
At September 2014, the question remains without answer - Did the NZ powerboat run over the US athlete or did the athlete run into the powerboat?