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Paralyzed Skier Looks to the Future

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    Paralyzed Skier Looks to the Future

    Paralyzed Skier Looks to the Future

    .c The Associated Press

    NOTTWIL, Switzerland (AP) - Swiss skier Silvano Beltrametti accepts the injury that him paralyzed as God's will.

    ``I've had a lot of highs and lows in the past weeks, but I now accept the accident as my fate. Apparently the Lord wanted me to be in this position,'' the 22-year-old said Thursday at the Nottwil Paraplegic Center.

    Looking relaxed in a wheelchair pushed by his manager, Giusep Fry, Beltrametti spoke with reporters for the first time since his accident at Val d'Isere, France, on Dec. 8.

    ``I lived for skiing 24 hours a day, but that time is behind me now. In a second, all my dreams, goals and visions came to nothing,'' he said. ``What's important now are my new goals.''

    Beltrametti was paralyzed after losing control on the famous Oreiller Killy course during the first men's downhill of the season. He hurtled into the safety netting at 75 mph, piercing through it and landing in the forest.

    He had a displaced fracture of the spine between vertebras six and seven, high in the back. His spinal cord was heavily damaged over two inches, resulting in complete paralysis of his lower body. He underwent two operations in Nottwil to stabilize his spine.

    Beltrametti started rehabilitation therapy two weeks ago and is expected to stay at the center for several months.

    ``The next four to five months will be the hardest training I have ever done,'' he said.

    AP-NY-01-03-02 1117EST