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Swiss skier Gisin leads women's downhill training

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 8, 2014 at 5:44 am •  Published: February 8, 2014
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KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia (AP) — Maria Hoefl-Riesch of Germany skipped the third women's Olympic downhill training run. So, too, did Tina Maze of Slovenia and Tina Weirather of Liechtenstein.

With starting spots already secured, they had that luxury on Saturday.

Dominique Gisin did not. Nor did her Swiss teammate Nadja Jnglin-Kamer.

For them, this was a race day, because only one position on the four-person Swiss downhill team was still available. The Americans were in a similar situation, using the training session to decide who skied in the women's race on Wednesday.

So there was plenty of pressure for a simple practice run.

Gisin breezed through the tight track and finished in 1 minute, 42.37 seconds to not only lead the session but secure her spot on the Swiss team. Jnglin-Kamer went all out, too, only to crash near the finish line. She gingerly got up and brushed herself off, skiing the rest of the run while holding her left hand. She broke into tears in the finish area.

Barring injury, she won't be taking the starting line for the downhill race. The other Swiss spots were grabbed by Lara Gut (she won a downhill in Beaver Creek, Colo., earlier this season), Fabienne Suter (she won Friday's training session) and Marianne Kaufmann-Abderhalden (by virtue of winning in Val d'Isere, France, in December).

"It was a lot of pressure, but for me it was good that I could handle the pressure and that gives me a lot of confidence," said Gisin, who held off Gut by 0.19 seconds on Saturday, with Kajsa Kling of Sweden finishing third, 0.25 behind. "Now I am looking to do maybe one easy training," session.

The Americans had had two spots up for grabs. Californians Julia Mancuso and Stacey Cook were already locks, leaving Laurenne Ross, newcomer Jacqueline Wiles of Portland and Leanne Smith all scurrying down the mountain for a chance to race on Wednesday when things really count.

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