Mancuso third fastest in opening Olympic downhill training


Julia Mancuso in Sochi (GEPA)

Julia Mancuso in Sochi downhill training (GEPA)

Julia Mancuso has been speedy on the Sochi Olympic downhill track before, earning a sixth-place finish in the World Cup test event on this course two years ago, and on Thursday (Feb. 6) she proved to be the third quickest down the piste in training. Austria’s Anna Fenninger was the fastest on the day, clocking a 0.21 advantage over Switzerland’s Fraenzi Aufdenblatten in second. But the day was not without its safety discussions as a lengthy delay ensued after the first three skiers initially took to the course, and they were ultimately offered a rerun.

“The snow’s excellent, and I mean there’s definitely a couple bumps on the course which makes it difficult and the two pitches are tough but in general it definitely ran how I expected it to. I’m looking forward to getting another couple chances,” Mancuso said. “There’s not a lot of warm-up here, so you never really know until you hit the course. But I was happy with how I skied today. I mean, I definitely have room to clean up some sections, but so far I think it’s on the right track.”

Maria Hoefl-Riesch, the winner here two years ago, posted the sixth fastest training run time, just a fraction over one second off Fenninger’s pace. Stacey Cook, who had a mishap halfway down nearly resulting in a crash before she was able to recover, was ninth and Jackie Wiles 12th while Canadian skier Larisa Yurkiw clocked into 13th position, just ahead of Laurenne Ross.

The run was interrupted for roughly an hour after the first three skiers descended, Ross among them, as course workers spent the time shaving down a jump near the finish. When the three starters were offered a rerun, only Ross accepted.

“It’s tough at Olympics like this because the testers are always locals and here they don’t have the luxury of having huge depth. They’re developing it, they’re getting close, but the forerunners were not going the speed that they needed to (in order) to test the course out,” noted Cook. “But you have to expect that. That’s part of the game here. There’s always things that aren’t ideal and it’s a big show and it’s hard to figure everything out at once.”

While a few skiers described the course as intimidating, Cook appreciated the challenge.

“It surprised me that I was able to pull out of that crash. I thought I was going down in the middle. I mean, I was down, but I got back up,” reflected Cook after her run. “That section was tougher than I thought it would be, actually. When I inspected it, I thought that it was going to be able to cruise right through and it kind of was in your face. So that was a surprise but it’s a good surprise because Olympics are meant to be a big challenge. The harder the better.”

Other athletes were more critical of the overall safety of the course. Liechtenstein’s Tina Weirather, who finished fourth, expressed concern for an injured skier from Italy.

“I think it’s a little bit dangerous for (the) ones who had to go like Daniela Merighetti… who flew 45 meters and hurt her knee. That’s not very good, obviously. I think it could have been done better,” remarked Weirather.

 

Results

Rank Bib FIS Code Name Year Nation Total Time Diff.
 1  17  55947 FENNINGER Anna 1989 AUT  1:41.73
 2  26  515573 AUFDENBLATTEN Fraenzi 1981 SUI  1:41.94  +0.21
 3  9  537545 MANCUSO Julia 1984 USA  1:42.11  +0.38
 4  16  355050 WEIRATHER Tina 1989 LIE  1:42.26  +0.53
 5  8  55766 STERZ Regina 1985 AUT  1:42.68  +0.95
 6  14  206001 HOEFL-RIESCH Maria 1984 GER  1:42.80  +1.07
 7  6  495318 RUIZ CASTILLO Carolina 1981 SPA  1:42.86  +1.13
 8  11  516138 GUT Lara 1991 SUI  1:42.91  +1.18
 9  13  537582 COOK Stacey 1984 USA  1:43.14  +1.41
 10  22  55690 HOSP Nicole 1983 AUT  1:43.19  +1.46
 11  27  515766 SUTER Fabienne 1985 SUI  1:43.33  +1.60
 12  35  539536 WILES Jacqueline 1992 USA  1:43.35  +1.62
 13  23  106849 YURKIW Larisa 1988 CAN  1:43.50  +1.77
 14  1  538573 ROSS Laurenne 1988 USA  1:43.58  +1.85
 15  18  565243 MAZE Tina 1983 SLO  1:43.65  +1.92
 16  10  515747 GISIN Dominique 1985 SUI  1:43.73  +2.00
 17  12  55576 GOERGL Elisabeth 1981 AUT  1:43.76  +2.03
 18  21  505886 KLING Kajsa 1988 SWE  1:43.89  +2.16
 19  29  205218 REBENSBURG Viktoria 1989 GER  1:43.90  +2.17
 20  20  56128 HUETTER Cornelia 1992 AUT  1:43.92  +2.19
 21  34  297702 MARSAGLIA Francesca 1990 ITA  1:43.95  +2.22
 21  24  55970 SCHMIDHOFER Nicole 1989 AUT  1:43.95  +2.22
 23  4  196460 MARCHAND-ARVIER Marie 1985 FRA  1:44.01  +2.28
 24  25  538305 SMITH Leanne 1987 USA  1:44.38  +2.65
 25  36  565320 FERK Marusa 1988 SLO  1:44.44  +2.71
 26  15  515782 KAUFMANN-ABDERHALDEN Marianne 1986 SUI  1:44.49  +2.76
 27  28  296729 FANCHINI Nadia 1986 ITA  1:44.54  +2.81
 28  42  55759 KIRCHGASSER Michaela 1985 AUT  1:44.55  +2.82
 29  33  155563 KRIZOVA Klara 1989 CZE  1:44.60  +2.87
 30  32  425929 MOWINCKEL Ragnhild 1992 NOR  1:44.67  +2.94
 31  5  425880 SEJERSTED Lotte Smiseth 1991 NOR  1:44.88  +3.15
 32  37  245066 MIKLOS Edit 1988 HUN  1:44.90  +3.17
 33  7  515806 JNGLIN-KAMER Nadja 1986 SUI  1:44.99  +3.26
 34  40  485631 YAKOVISHINA Elena 1992 RUS  1:45.11  +3.38
 35  43  375018 COLETTI Alexandra 1983 MON  1:45.43  +3.70
 36  45  225206 ALCOTT Chemmy 1982 GBR  1:45.83  +4.10
 37  47  297601 BRIGNONE Federica 1990 ITA  1:46.16  +4.43
 38  39  485632 BEDAREVA Maria 1992 RUS  1:46.38  +4.65
 39  44  506399 HECTOR Sara 1992 SWE  1:46.45  +4.72
 40  46  155415 STRACHOVA Sarka 1985 CZE  1:46.61  +4.88
 41  38  515997 FEIERABEND Denise 1989 SUI  1:46.90  +5.17
 42  49  45331 SMALL Greta 1995 AUS  1:47.29  +5.56
 43  30  565360 STUHEC Ilka 1990 SLO  1:47.75  +6.02
 44  52  705349 GANTNEROVA Jana 1989 SVK  1:48.29  +6.56
 45  56  705377 SAALOVA Kristina 1991 SVK  1:48.51  +6.78
 46  31  105269 GAGNON Marie-Michele 1989 CAN  1:48.54  +6.81
 47  48  435245 CHRAPEK Karolina 1990 POL  1:49.05  +7.32
 48  50  35089 SIMARI BIRKNER Macarena 1984 ARG  1:49.45  +7.72
 49  51  25096 GUTIERREZ Mireia 1988 AND  1:51.10  +9.37
 50  54  115115 BARAHONA Noelle 1990 CHI  1:51.57  +9.84
 51  55  245051 BERECZ Anna 1988 HUN  1:52.82  +11.09
Did not start 1st run
 41  538855 FORD Julia 1990 USA
 3  296008 MERIGHETTI Daniela 1981 ITA
 2  296431 STUFFER Verena 1984 ITA
Did not finish 1st run
 53  465098 CAILL Ania Monica 1995 ROU
 19  296472 FANCHINI Elena 1985 ITA

 

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