Family of dead skicross racer vindicated

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TORONTO (AP) — The family of a Canadian skicross racer killed two years ago at a World Cup event feels vindicated now that authorities no longer blame him for the crash and instead have made courses safer.

Lawyer Tim Danson said Monday the family of 29-year-old Nik Zoricic believes the skier's legacy has become something to celebrate.

"We were not prepared to accept that Nik was responsible for his own death," Danson told The Canadian Press. "We just wanted the truth to be acknowledged."

Immediately after the crash in Grindelwald, Switzerland, on March 10, 2012, ski officials angered the family and others in the skiing community by suggesting Zoricic was to blame.

The family contended the death was "entirely avoidable" and called the course finish line a "death trap."

In a letter to his parents this month, the International Ski Federation described Zoricic as a "talented, experienced, and skilled" World Cup skier who did not take unnecessary risks. The letter further states that the federation has updated its safety guidelines and beefed up the staff and experts who help organizers construct a course and its safety measures.

In skicross, several racers hurtle down a mountain at the same time, making jumps and taking curves on the way.

Zoricic had raced on the World Cup circuit for more than three years and was competing in his 36th event in Grindelwald when he was killed at the finish line of a tight three-way race. Video showed he was going more than 55 mph.

The ski federation also said it would commit $250,000 over five years to the Nik Zoricic Foundation, which aims to improve skicross safety.

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