Anna Fenninger Tops in Downhill Training Run

The training was halted earlier in the day after several women raised safety concerns

Italy Alpine Skiing World Cup

Anna Fenninger of Austria turned in the fastest time in a women's Olympic downhill training run that had to be halted so workers could alter a harrowing jump near the finish.

Fenninger finished the tricky course in 1 minute, 41.73 seconds on Thursday, 0.21 seconds ahead of Fraenzi Aufdenblatten of Switzerland. American Julia Mancuso was third.

The race was stopped after the first three racers were getting too much air on a jump. After an hour delay, the three racers were given the option of running the course again, with only American Laurenne Ross taking the option.

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Daniela Merighetti of Italy skipped the re-run after hurting both knees when she landed. She will have her left knee examined.

Her teammate Verena Stuffer also elected not to race again.

The men's training run went on as scheduled on a different course.

Part of the issue with the women's course was the forerunners who tested out the course before the skiers. They didn't reach the kind of speeds the women did on the track, so the jump wasn't an issue until Ross went down, followed by Verena Stuffer of Italy and then Merighetti. Each sailed quite far in the air.

"I'm upset they didn't have more expert forerunners," said Merighetti, who was visibly upset after her run. "They would've known not to send us down."

Ross felt honored to be the first skier through the Olympic course, even if the experience was a little "intimidating." She said she held back a bit, just to get the lay of the land.

Still, that jump definitely caught her by surprise. Like Merighetti, Ross said more experienced forerunners are necessary.

"It would be a little bit more settling for us that have the first couple of bibs, to have athletes going as fast as we're going," Ross said. "That's what forerunners are for, to test the track and give you a course report. It's tough when they're just not going quite as fast as you. You know you're going to get more air."

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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