Olympic bronze medalist Sandra Laoura had emergency spinal surgery Saturday after injuring her back during training for this weekend's freestyle skiing World Cup event.
The 26-year-old Frenchwoman was recovering at Montreal General Hospital after surgery to stabilize and fuse her 11th and 12th thorasic vertebrae, said Dr. Bob Foxford of the Canadian freestyle team.
Laoura hurt her back when she fell awkwardly during a jump during training Friday.
She fractured and dislocated those vertebrae, which are in the middle to lower back region. She has no movement from that area down, said Foxford, worked at the World Cup event at the Mont-Gabriel ski resort.
Foxford said sometimes swelling from a spinal injury can cause temporary paralysis, but Laoura needs to improve when the swelling eases.
"We're hoping there will be some sensation there in the next 24 hours," Foxford said. "The chances of [recovery] become markedly lower as time goes on. There's always hope."
Laoura won bronze in the women's moguls event at the 2006 Torino Olympics, finishing third behind Canadian Jennifer Heil and Norway's Kari Traa. She has four career World Cup podium appearances.
— The Associated Press