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Defending Olympic champion Maëlle Ricker to have wrist surgery

Canada's Maëlle Ricker celebrates after winning the women's Snowboard-Cross FIS World Cup competition in Stoneham, Quebec, February 21, 2012.

MATHIEU BELANGER/REUTERS

Maëlle Ricker's hopes of defending her Olympic title in snowboard cross racing have taken an unexpected twist.

The 35-year-old Vancouver athlete suffered a wrist injury Tuesday while training in Aspen, Colo.

The Canadian Olympic Committee issued a release stating that Ricker decided to have surgery on her wrist after consulting with her coach and team staff.

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"While the timing of this injury is very unfortunate, we know that Maelle is an incredibly resilient athlete that has battled back from several injuries over her career to accomplish great things for Canada," said Steven Hills, Canada Snowboard's executive officer. "We hope that Maelle's surgery is successful and believe that she will have every opportunity to join Team Canada in Sochi with the goal of competing in the Snowboard Cross event on February 16."

Canada Snowboard said it would provide more information after Ricker has undergone surgery.

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Allan Maki is a national news reporter and sports writer based in Calgary. More

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