Air bags presented as ski racing's safety solution

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KITZBUEHEL Austria (AP) -- A first prototype of a high-tech air bag aimed at increased safety in ski racing was presented on Thursday, two years before its planned introduction at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

The International Ski Federation and Italian manufacturer Dainese demonstrated the so called D-air system, which inflates air bags under the race suit in case of a crash to protect the skier's back, chest, shoulders and collar bones.

FIS race director Guenter Hujara said "crashes may always happen but this could help racers walk away from it without serious injuries."

Several World Cup athletes, including former overall champion Aksel Lund Svindal, Norway's Kjetil Jansrud and Italy's Werner Heel, have been assisting in the development of the system.