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Monday, 09 February 2004





Champion snowboarder Tara Dakides, who fell 25 feet off a ramp while performing a stunt for "The Late Show with David Letterman," was released from the hospital yesterday, vowing to return to the slopes "very soon."
"This is not going to stop me at all," Dakides told The Post. "I am going to take a few weeks off."

Dakides, an X Games gold medalist, walked out of Bellevue Hospital a day after she slipped off a snow-covered ramp set up outside the Ed Sullivan Theater on West 53rd Street. The daredevil veered out of control while trying a 360-degree midair twist and slammed to the ground.

"This was a different kind of fall. I don't usually fall off scaffolding jumps," she said. "When I hit the concrete I got a little nervous. Things got gray there for 10 seconds."

The 28-year-old snowboarding babe - who performed the stunt without a helmet - received four stitches to close a cut to the back of her head.

Dakides, nicknamed the "Terrorizer," has been competing on the snowboarding circuit since 1993. She was in the city to showcase her talents on the CBS show and to discuss the silver medal she recently won at the X Games in Aspen, Colo.

Letterman, who visited the athlete in the hospital after canceling Thursday's show, said on last night's show that Dakides will appear on the show Monday.

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

In his opening monologue, Letterman joked, "There hasn't been a jump that ill-advised since I moved from NBC to CBS."

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