Amesbury native Dylan Ferguson's Olympic dream was dealt a substantial blow last Wednesday when he was hospitalized in Park City, Utah, for the second time in a span of a week.
As of yesterday, Ferguson remained hospitalized at University of Utah Hospital due to a stomach infection that stemmed from a procedure to remove his appendix Feb. 4.
Ferguson, a 21-year-old freestyle skier, has not trained since Feb. 2 and did not travel to Vancouver, British Columbia, with the rest of the U.S. team. He watched the opening ceremonies on Friday evening from his hotel room. As of Saturday, he remained connected to intravenous fluids for the fourth day in a row.
Ferguson is scheduled to compete on Feb. 22. He was unsure Saturday whether he would be able to represent his country.
"I'm taking it day by day," Ferguson said. "I don't want to get my hopes up or down. I'm trying not to think about the Olympics right now. I need to heal up and get better before I can even think about it."
Ferguson has been in contact with U.S. team coaches and teammates over the last two weeks, but they have yet to consider alternative plans if he is unable to compete. He is ranked second among American freestyle skiers, behind fellow Olympian Jeret "Speedy" Peterson, and 14th in the world. He consistently delivered the best performances of his career in Olympic qualifying events, including a career-best sixth-place finish at a World Cup event in Deer Valley, Utah, on Jan. 15. He is one of four aerial skiers to make the team, along with Peterson, Ryan St. Onge and Matt DePeters.
There is no alternate aerial skier listed on the United States roster; however, it is not unusual for the national team to have a contingency plan should one of the Olympians have to withdraw. For instance, Seabrook Olympic snowboarder Scotty Lago was told he was an alternate at the 2006 Olympic Games, but was not listed on the U.S. roster.