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Olympian and Masters Champion, Maria Lenk-Zigler Injured in a Fall -- November 26, 2003

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil, November 26. BRAZILIAN Olympian and Masters champion Maria Lenk-Zigler, 88, was taken to a hospital in Botafogo, Rio de Janeiro on Sunday, after she broke her femur on Friday following a fall in the street while walking her horse near her home in Leblon.

Taken to the Samaritan Hospital in Rio, she was placed in the Intensive Care Unit. Lenk suffered a serious break, according to her orthopedist, Dr. Theo Cohen, who treated her. The left femur was broken in several places and Cohen had to use plates and screws to reconstitute it.

Despite the gravity of the accident, Cohen said that Lenk would be able to swim in three months. "I am optimistic because she is reacting well. She is a healthy, strong and very active person."

He added that he expected she would be released from the hospital in several days.

Lenk, Brazil's most famous international-caliber female swimmer, became the first South American to participate in the Olympic Games when she swam at the 1932 Games in Los Angeles at the age of 17.

SEven years later she became the first Brazilian to set a world record when she swam the 200m breaststroke in 2:56.0 and the 400m breast in 6:15.8.

Still active, Lenk-Zigler is one of the world's top female swimmers in the 85-89 age group, spending half her time in the U.S.. An author as well, she published her fifth book last May, "Longevity and Sports."