No holding her back

Despite injuries, Lalive looking forward to Salt Lake City

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— As if competing in the Olympics isn't tough enough, American hopeful Caroline Lalive is finding out that training can be just as treacherous.

Lalive, a 21-year-old U.S. Ski Team member from Steamboat Springs who competed in the 1998 Olympics in Japan, is training for Salt Lake City with a broken wrist.

Six weeks ago, she crashed on her mountain bike while riding with some friends, she said.

"I flipped over backwards," Lalive said. "It was stupid. It was all rocks and I just ended up snapping my wrist."

The biking accident came just three months after she suffered a leg injury at the World Alpine Ski Championships in Austria.

At the World Championships, which were held in February, Lalive wiped out while warming up for the slalom.

She injured her fibula and was sidelined for four weeks, which caused her to miss several World Cups.

Lalive did, however, compete in the World Cup Finals in Sweden in early March.

The injuries, she said, have been a minor setback.

"I've been kind of having a bit of a tough time, but at least my leg is now fine," she said. "I've just been training, doing what I can."

Lalive, who is training in Park City, is a strong favorite to return to the Olympics in the combined an event that features both downhill and slalom races.

In the '98 Nagano Olympics, she came in seventh in the combined. Her mother, Fran Lalive, believes she is a solid medal contender.

"She has got all the components really fine-tuned," Fran Lalive said. "She is mature in the mental game and she has really tasted enough of victory and has been so close a lot of times the hunger is just insatiable."

Lalive, a five-year member of the U.S. Ski Team, has always had a competitive spirit, her mother said.

At age 2, Lalive began skiing in Switzerland under the tutelage of Fran and her father, Francois.

"I definitely can remember just having skiing always being part of my life," Lalive said. "My dad would hike up to the top of the hills (in Switzerland) and put me on skis and let me go and I would just fall down."

Lalive started racing competitively at age 5 at Lake Tahoe, where she lived for about 10 years.

At age 13, her family moved to Oregon, where she continued ski racing at Mount Hood. Lalive has a younger sister, Isabelle, and a younger brother, John-Phlippe.

In 1995, the family relocated to Steamboat, where Lalive ended up joining the Winter Sports Club.

Since graduating from Lowell Whiteman School in 1997, Lalive has had a great deal of success on the World Cup.

Last year in Santa Caterina, Italy, she reached her first World Cup podium.

But the veteran Olympian is not looking too far into the future, she said.

"I'm just trying not to get ahead of myself," Lalive said. "It's still eight months out. If I'm too nervous or kind of amped out at this point, when the Olympics finally do come up, I'll be really drained."

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