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Paralyzed Brazil Olympic gymnast turned skier learning electric wheelchair

Lais Souza

FILE - In this July 11, 2008, file photo, Lais Souza, of Brazil’s artistic gymnastic team, trains at the Center of Excellence for Olympic Gymnastics in Curitiba, southern Brazil. Doctors say the 25-year-old gymnast, expected to compete in freestyle skiing at the Sochi Olympics, is unable to move, talk or breathe on her own after an accident this week while skiing in Utah. She was injured Monday when she hit a tree while skiing in Park City. (AP Photo/Andre Penner)


Lais Souza is learning to use an electric wheelchair, more than six weeks after she was paralyzed in a skiing accident before she hoped to compete in the Sochi Olympics as an aerialist.

The Brazilian, a two-time Olympic gymnast, completed her first week of rehabilitation in Miami, according to the Brazil Olympic Committee.

Souza said she’s feeling better, is ready to face what lies ahead and thanked her supporters in a statement.

Souza hit a tree skiing in Utah on Jan. 27, suffering a spine injury and being left unable to move her arms and legs.

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