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Alpine Skiing Course A 'Disaster,' As Only 31 Of 49 World Class Athletes Finish

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SOCHI, Russia (AP) - How to know when an alpine skiing course is hard: When only 31 of 49 athletes who start can even finish the course.

Soft snow, steep angles and tough curves - all common complaints Saturday at the women's super-G course during the gold medal run.

"There is no snow at the bottom, it's not funny anymore. This is a disaster, it was a shame for everybody," said Switzerland's Laura Gut, who finished fourth.

Only one of the first eight starters finished, leading the rest of the skiers to change their strategy. For many, adjusting still didn't work.

"Everybody was crashing around, it's difficult to stay on your skis - you are constantly losing them," Gut said. "I don't know if this is the best way to show off our skiing. It's not a race. You are just trying to come down."

Anna Fenninger of Austria took gold, finishing the 2.1-kilometer (1.3-mile) course in 1:25.52.

"I think we all underestimated the track," said Switzerland's Fabienne Suter, who finished seventh.

Suter said the skiers thought there would be fewer problems after a morning inspection. Then competition started.

"I saw the first and second starters on the TV. I had a strange feeling before going down the track," she said.

- By Oskar Garcia - Twitter http://twitter.com/oskargarcia

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Associated Press reporters are filing dispatches about happenings in and around Sochi during the 2014 Winter Games. Follow AP journalists covering the Olympics on Twitter: http://apne.ws/1c3WMiu

CORRECTION: An earlier headline indicated 31 of 49 skiers failed to finish.

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