After radical surgery, Camplin not a freestyle medals contender, doc says{mosimage}SYDNEY, Australia – Defending freestyle aerial gold medalist Alisa Camplin is unlikely to contend for a medal at next month’s Winter Olympics despite a strong comeback from knee surgery, says Australia’s team doctor.

Camplin, who became Australia’s second Winter Games gold medalist at Salt Lake City four years ago, had radical surgery in October when a patella tendon from a donor cadaver was used to repair her knee.

She has since staged a rapid recovery and is likely to take part in the World Cup ski events this weekend, deciding to jump basic single somersaults to ease herself back into competition.

But Dr. Peter Braun, a former freestyle aerial skier, said Camplin ”almost certainly” couldn’t be as competitive as she was four years ago.

”I think it’s (a medal) probably unrealistic,” he said Wednesday. ”For her to be doing her jumps and landing them, she’ll be doing amazingly well.”

Braun said he also had concerns that other athletes might regard similar surgery to Camplin’s as a means to quick recovery and equally fast return to competition.

”If it is presented as miracle surgery, fast recovery, people might think ‘I’ll do that,’ ” said Braun. ”If it is presented as a highly risky, one-off strategy for an incredibly gifted athlete who happens to be motivated and lucky, well hopefully then people will see it for what it is.”

Australia is expected to field a six-woman squad at the back-to-back World Cup events in Deer Valley, Utah, this weekend, including Camplin, Lydia Ierodiaconou, Jacqui Cooper, Liz Gardner, Bree Munro and Lainie Cole.

– The Associated Press

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