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Kari Swenson
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Athlete
    (1962- )
    Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
    Biathlete
    Member of the team that won bronze in the 3x5 kilometer relay at the Biathlon World Championships (1984)
    Abducted during a training run outside Big Sky, Montana, by father and son survivalists Don and Dan Nichols (July 15, 1984)
    Rescued after 18 hours
    Portrayed by Tracy Pollan in the TV movie 'The Abduction of Kari Swenson' (1987)
    Her kidnapping tended to overshadow her athletic career.
    Her captors mocked her when she dropped items like her wristwatch for a search party to find.
    She complained that the TV movie about her made her recovery and return to competition look too easy.
    While being dragged through the woods, she studied the terrain so she could find her way out if she got a chance to escape.
    She was shot in the chest by Dan and abandoned, left chained to a tree.
    To reduce her odds of bleeding to death, she drew on her athletic conditioning and concentrated on slowing her pulse.
    Rescued four hours after being shot, she had one more brush with death while being airlifted out when her stretcher, dangling beneath a helicopter, collided with a tree.
    Despite a 20% reduction in lung capacity, she returned to competition in 1986.
    For years after the abduction, she suffered pain from nerve damage in her back and chest and had to wear a metal band on her jaw to counter damages caused when Don Nichols punched her in the face.
    After retiring from athletics, she became a veterinarian.

Credit: C. Fishel


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