Paris (AP) — French downhill skier David Poisson, a former medalist at the world championships, died on Monday following a training crash in Canada. He was 35.
The French Ski Federation said Poisson, who won the downhill bronze medal at the 2013 worlds, was training in the Canadian resort of Nakiska for World Cup races in North America. The federation did not elaborate.
French sports minister Laura Flessel expressed her “sadness” and said she will look carefully into the circumstances of the crash.
Poisson, a bulky racer with a broad smile nicknamed “Caillou” (“small stone”), was a popular figure on the World Cup circuit.
He secured his only World Cup podium in 2015 when he came third in the Santa Caterina downhill in Italy, and was fourth in the prestigious Kitzbuehel downhill in 2013. He also competed in the last Winter Olympics, and hoped to qualify for the Pyeongchang Games.
The International Ski Federation expressed its condolences to Poisson’s family and friends in a statement, praising “a respected and accomplished athlete on the World Cup tour ever since his debut in 2004.”
American ski racer Steven Nyman tweeted: “My heart goes out to David Poisson’s family, friends and teammates. He was a good man, a beast and a friend. I will miss him. The whole World Cup Tour will miss him.”
Poisson’s death came 16 years after super-G world champion Regine Cavagnoud, a prominent French skier, died in Austria from brain injuries following a collision in training.
“There is no word for that,” former French downhiller Luc Alphand told L’Equipe newspaper. “Eliminating risk entirely in downhill is impossible.”