Former Olympian Dies in Mountain Climbing Accident

Celebrity News May. 29, 2009 AT 6:58PM
Former Olympian Dies in Mountain Climbing Accident Credit: Agence Zoom/Getty Images

Former Olympic snowboarding champion Karine Ruby died Friday in a climbing accident on France's famed Mont Blanc.

She was 31. Ruby, who had been training to become a mountain guide, was roped to other climbers when she and some others fell into a deep crack, the Associated Press reports. They had been climbing across a glacier on their way down the mountain at the time of the accident.

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Lt. Col. Pierre Bouquin said that Ruby and one other climber, a 38-year-old man, died in the fall. One other male climber is seriously injured. "Karine incarnated the emergence of snowboarding in France," French Prime Minister Francois Fillon said in a statement. "The people of France will hold on to the memory of her talent and her joie de vivre."

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Ruby won a gold medal in the giant slalom at the 1998 Nagano Olympics and a silver in the parallel giant slalom at the 2002 Salt Lake City Games. She was a six-time world champion with 65 snowboard World Cup victories. She retired after the 2006 Turin Olympics, where she was eliminated in the quarterfinals of the snowboardcross event.

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