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Moguls course undergoing tweaks as Olympics loom

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 5, 2014 at 3:26 pm •  Published: February 5, 2014
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KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia (AP) — The ambitious slopestyle course that sent Shaun White sprinting for the serenity and apparent safety of the halfpipe isn't the only Olympic event at Sochi's Extreme Park turning heads and sending riders tumbling down the mountain.

Things have been nearly as dicey in moguls. The U.S. was among several countries to unsuccessfully ask officials Wednesday to tweak the course, expressing concerns about unusual sequencing along the 700-foot sprint across bumps and jumps that make for a unique mixture of daredevil downhill racing and aerials.

"There's a lot of issues with the course," American Patrick Deneen said.

Deneen, however, cautioned against confusing "issues" with "danger."

"Everybody is scrambling a little bit," he said. "This isn't what anybody expected, but it's really good. We're really liking it. They made a few mistakes while they were building the course and we're fighting those ... but they also did some pretty cool things."

Still, Deneen admitted it was a "battle" when the U.S. team arrived for its first practice earlier this week. The course had barely been completed when the Americans popped on their skis and went careening down the hill at speeds of up to 35 mph.

Things didn't go so well. During practice Tuesday, the 26-year-old Deneen caught an edge entering the second of the course's two jumps and slammed into it.

"There was no way around it," he said. "It was like crashing into a wall. It's just not going to feel good no matter what happens."

Deneen underwent X-rays for an unspecified injury and plans to be ready when the men's competition begins next week. There's a chance by then the course's rough edges will have been smoothed out.

There's not that much time for the women, who begin qualifying Thursday. American Heidi Kloser, making her Olympic debut, called the course "challenging," but pointed at improvements during three days of training.

"The course is pretty safe now," she said. "The first day it was a little bit rough because no one had skied it and we were worried about the bottom of the course being more dangerous."

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