Milan (AFP) -
Italian alpine skier Elena Fanchini announced Friday that she will not be able to compete in her fourth consecutive Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang after being diagnosed with a tumour.
The 32-year-old from Bergamo has been diagnosed with "a low-grade neoplasm that can be cured," the Italian ski federation said in a statement.
"Everyone has faced difficult times, moments when life puts us to the test," Fanchini, whose younger sisters Nadia and Sabrina are also elite Italian skiers, said on Facebook.
"Life has placed a new challenge on front of me, a serious thing for which I am forced to stop and treat myself. It's not easy because I think of all the sacrifices, the effort, the goals of the season, the Olympics and my dreams.
"Everything slips away like rain. This is life, you never know what can happen, but I do not give up, I face this new challenge with so much strength and courage to come back stronger and realise my dreams.
"I'm doing all the appropriate examinations at the Humanitas clinic, I will take care of myself, and my intention is to return next year to ski," she added.
Fanchini won silver at the world championships in Bormio in 2005 and four World Cup podiums, all in downhill, including two victories in Lake Louise, Canada in 2006 and Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy in 2015.
"I want Elena to know that we are all with her and her family," said federation president Flavio Roda, "and that we will wait for her return to the ski slopes".