Lucas Braathen has appendix surgery, could miss ski worlds

ZELL-AM-SEE, Austria -- World Cup slalom standings leader Lucas Braathen left the hospital Thursday after surgery for appendicitis ahead of the world championships.

The 22-year-old Norwegian will miss a World Cup slalom Saturday in France and has only a slim chance of racing in two weeks at the worlds in Courchevel and Meribel.

"We'll just hope for as quick a return as possible," Braathen said in an online news conference, where he was reminded he missed the previous worlds in 2021 after knee surgery. "It's quite unbelievable that it would happen twice in a row. It's a part of life, man."

Braathen, whose mother is Brazilian, has been a standout personality on and off the snow this season.

Skiing with his personal trademark painted fingernails, he has two wins in slalom and one in giant slalom plus three more podium finishes, including last week in a floodlit slalom at Schladming, Austria.

His illness began during a break in Paris where he said he felt "quite intense pain" from stomach cramps. It got worse on returning to his training base in Austria.

"I've never had anything like it. I couldn't move," he said. "The smallest moves, changes of position in bed, and my entire body would scream."

Braathen had surgery Tuesday and announced it Thursday in an Instagram post that included a photograph from his hospital bed.

"I've been through surgery and I'm blessed that it went successfully," he wrote. "Hopefully I'll be back in a couple of weeks."

At the worlds, the men's giant slalom is on Feb. 17 and the slalom closes the two-week championships on Feb. 19.