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TORINO: Freestyle: Aerials star Camplin to carry Aussie flag

TORINO: Freestyle: Aerials star Camplin to carry Aussie flag{mosimage}TORINO, Italy – Defending aerials skiing gold medalist Alisa Camplin will give her patched-up knee an early Olympic tryout Friday when she carries the Australian flag into the Opening Ceremony.

”I feel pretty chuffed,” 31-year-old Camplin said in a statement Thursday. ”It is so special given how hard I’ve had to fight just to participate here.”

Camplin, the first Australian woman to win a Winter Olympics gold medal when she triumphed in Salt Lake City, underwent knee surgery in October after damaging her cruciate ligament while training in Utah. Surgeons used a patella tendon from a donor cadaver to repair the ligament.

”Four months ago when my knee blew out I felt the rug had been pulled out from under me,” Camplin said. ”It made me realize that you don’t take it for granted – competing at an Olympics.”

Australian team chief Ian Chesterman paid tribute to Camplin’s fight to be fit for the Games.

”Alisa Camplin holds a special place in Australia’s history at the Olympic Winter Games by being the first female to win a gold medal,” Chesterman said. ”She also embodies that great Australian spirit that allows her to overcome huge obstacles. Alisa is a true champion, both on and off the snow, and a great ambassador for our country.”

– The Associated Press

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