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Meillard, key Shiffrin rival, out of Olympics after crash

Meillard

LENZERHEIDE, SWITZERLAND - JANUARY 28: Melanie Meillard of Switzerland celebrates during the Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup Women’s Slalom on January 28, 2018 in Lenzerheide, Switzerland. (Photo by Alain Grosclaude/Agence Zoom/Getty Images)

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One of Mikaela Shiffrin’s expected main rivals in slalom is out of the Olympics after crashing hard in training and tearing a ligament in her knee.

The Swiss ski team says 19-year-old Melanie Meillard ruptured the ACL in her left knee during a fall in giant slalom practice on Thursday.

The team says she will fly home Friday to prepare for surgery.

Meillard was expected to start in the Olympic giant slalom on Monday, then slalom on Wednesday, when American star Shiffrin defends her title.

She arrived at her first Olympics in sixth place in the World Cup slalom standings, which Shiffrin leads.

The Swiss racer had five top-10 finishes in slalom this season and a first career podium finish when third in a parallel racing event last month.