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

OLY-2014-SKI-ALPINE-SUPERG-WOMEN

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

___

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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FITZ February 16 2014 at 12:18 AM

The safety of ALL the athletes is important. This isn't the first event with sub-standard conditions.

Flag Reply +15 rate up
fminparis February 15 2014 at 7:18 PM

Like having a bowling tournament for professional bowlers with bumps and holes in the alley. Stupid, stupid. Not a test of anything.

Flag Reply +9 rate up
1 reply
sandralee9023 fminparis February 15 2014 at 7:56 PM

CORRECT PUTIN WAS MORE INTERESTED IN SHOWING OFF THAN SAFETY

Flag Reply +3 rate up
Erne February 15 2014 at 7:50 PM

It's really a shame. The focus of the Olympics should never revolve around the conditions, it ought to be about the athletes. This really switches the focus from the performance of the athletes to the performance of the venue. Not what you want at any sports event.

Flag Reply +4 rate up
landslowrance February 15 2014 at 6:58 PM

The weather is proving the critics right about Sochi. Of all the other places in this world that are covered in fresh powder right now, they had to award it to a place that has palm trees growing in the city.

Flag Reply +4 rate up
1 reply
godot433 landslowrance February 15 2014 at 8:46 PM

"they had to award it to a place that has palm trees growing in the city."

Yes mind you I'm told that the Russians also put some mountains behind Sochi, quite high, almost twice as high as the Alps, for the Games. Still Vonn got injured on her first day in Sochi. Or was it the States. I'm confused.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
burt7753 February 16 2014 at 6:00 AM

All races have risk, but this was ridiculous. These were all world class athletes.

Flag Reply +5 rate up
jarodandpatrick February 15 2014 at 5:59 PM

They should have had the winter Olympics in Georgia this year.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
godabarb February 15 2014 at 8:26 PM

it is a shame that all sites arent required to meet standards of safety at any olympic site

Flag Reply +2 rate up
1 reply
doloresgarden godabarb February 15 2014 at 9:07 PM

HEY,THAT LOOKS LIKE MY LOST CAT,FIGARO.HE IS A LIVELY ONE WHO GOES HIS OWN WAY AND ACT LIKE HE OWNS THE WORLD. HE LIKE MOZART !

Flag Reply 0 rate up
jjoyce39 February 15 2014 at 5:45 PM

Russia should of had the event in Siberia not Sochi. COLD there and plenty of Snow

Flag Reply +2 rate up
tvlsan February 15 2014 at 5:34 PM

Sochi is no different than Vancouver from 2010 , in actuality Vancouvers mean Feb. temp is higher 46, than Sochi 43. Both have nearby mountains, and weather was a concern in Vancouver mountains as well. Luckily it worked out better for Vancouver, but the same conditions could have prevailed.

Flag Reply +3 rate up
Brian February 16 2014 at 3:56 AM

Tough course, check, changing snow conditions, check, blind turn with jump, check. 31 of 49 skiers successfully finish course, priceless.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
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