Ski jumping champion Morgenstern out of danger, Sochi unclear

Olympic ski jumping champion Thomas Morgenstern of Austria was out of danger Monday three days after a horrific crash, doctors said, but his participation at the Sochi Games remains unclear.

His doctor Josef Obrist told a news conference that Morgenstern, briefly unconscious on Friday after the ski flying accident, was in a "stable condition", giving him the "definite all-clear".

"I'm so grateful for my recovery. And I'm speechless about the many good wishes here," the 27-year-old, one of Austria's leading gold medal hopes for the Sochi Winter Olympics which get underway on February 7, posted on Facebook.

"I try to read as many as possible of them, what gives me strength. THANK YOU SO MUCH to my family, the medical team and to everybody, who stands by my side!"

Whether he competes in Russia, however, is uncertain, with chief trainer Alexander Pointner saying only he would "keep a space free for Thomas for as long as possible".

The spectacular crash on the Kulm slope in Tauplitz on Friday, Morgenstern's second in a month, saw him lose balance in mid-air and land heavily on his back and head before sliding lifelessly to the bottom.

Unlike ski jumping's usual hill size of 130-140 metres (425-460 feet), ski flying takes place on a 200-metre hill, with jumpers soaring through the air after speeding down an icy track at up to 100 kilometres per hour (60 miles per hour).

Morgenstern already suffered a serious crash during the World Cup event in Titisee-Neustadt on December 15, which left him briefly unconscious in the landing area.

But he escaped with bruises and a broken finger and made an impressive comeback to finish second to new Austrian star Thomas Diethart at the Four Hills Tournament in Bischofshofen last week.

A two-time overall World Cup winner, Morgenstern is one of the stars of the Austrian ski jumping team, winning individual and team gold at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin and team gold again in Vancouver four years later.

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