Olympic Skid

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BLOOMFIELD, Conn: Hailed in 1993 as an ethereal "ice princess" by TIME's Susanna Schrobsdorff, Oksana Baiul is attempting to set her crown straight after skidding her green Mercedes off the highway and into some Connecticut shrubbery Sunday morning. An unknown Ukrainian orphan who first emerged as an international sports celebrity after cinching an Olympic gold in 1994 at the age of 16, Oksana had slipped to the sidelines of world competition, plagued by back and knee injuries, weight gain and the distractions of stardom. On Tuesday, police charged Baiul, 19, who now lives in Connecticut, with drinking and reckless driving in the accident over the weekend. Baiul, whose blood alcohol easily exceeded the state limit, and who is two years short of the legal drinking age of 21, was released on her own recognizance and is now recovering at home in Simsbury, Conn. from a concussion and scalp cut. Also injured in the crash was fellow Ukrainian skater Ararat Zakarian, 30, who suffered a broken finger. The two were returning to Baiul's home after watching an ice pageant Saturday evening in Hartford. In a statement released Tuesday, the skater asked friends and fans for their understanding and apologized "for the mistake I made and the circumstances surrounding the accident."