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Archive for Saturday, February 7, 2004

Injured snowboarder to return to Letterman

February 7, 2004

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— A champion snowboarder injured doing a stunt on "The Late Show with David Letterman" will be a guest on Monday's show.

"Tara Dakides will be here and we'll talk with her Monday about the ordeal," Letterman said in a taped segment for Friday night's show.

"She's fine and she's going to go back to her career, and so what looked like just a horrific, miserable tragedy yesterday in fact has a happy ending."

A soaring stunt on Thursday's program turned into a horror show when Dakides wiped out and fell from a ramp nearly two stories high.

The audience at the Ed Sullivan Theater gasped in disbelief as Dakides slipped and plummeted 15 feet to the pavement on West 53rd Street, opening a cut on the back of her head.

Dakides, who was not wearing a helmet or pads, was rushed to Bellevue Hospital, where doctors stitched up the gash.

The chilling accident left Letterman, who had just told Dakides to "be careful," stunned. He immediately canceled the remainder of the show's taping, and a repeat was broadcast on CBS Thursday night.

The talk-show host, who was watching the stunt on a monitor inside the theater, took off his jacket and ran out to the street to Dakides' side.

After she was taken away in an ambulance, Letterman returned to the theater.

"He (Letterman) came back about 12 minutes later and said, 'She was moving and talking and in an ambulance,"' said Bill Edwards, 59, from Loveland, Colo., who was in the audience when the accident happened.

The 28-year-old Dakides was in stable condition Friday at Bellevue, where she was admitted overnight for observation. She was even joking with friends, and with Letterman, who visited her at the hospital.

"The only thing I'm upset about is that the French judge only gave me a 5.6," quipped Dakides.

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