KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia (AP) — It almost sounds like a sightseeing tour through Moscow: Start with the Bolshoi, keep the speed up through Gorky Park, be careful around Red Square and cruise past the Kremlin.
No time for sightseeing, though, since, in this case, these are the names of features on the Olympic skicross course, which hosts the women's contest Friday.
There have been crashes and spills on the course for two weeks, by snowboarders and skiers, men and women both. The course was in the spotlight last weekend when Olympic skicross racer Maria Komissarova of Russia fractured her spine in a training accident.
So, should the course be altered for the women? After all, race organizers have two different setups for, say, the men's and women's downhill in Alpine skiing.
"I don't think so," Marte Hoeie Gjefsen of Norway said.
Instead, Gjefsen thinks a rider's experience should count for more.
"As a coach, you have to know your racers and say, 'This is too big.' That's my opinion," she said.
Ophelie David of France actually appreciates the difficultly of the course.
"It's excellent, amazing, the best we've had this winter," she said. "It's everything with '-er' — bigger, better, more 'amazing-er,' if I can say that."
Here are five things to know for the final:
OVERCOMING A STROKE: Ten months ago, Sami Kennedy-Sim of Australia was experiencing pain in training. She dismissed it as the usual bumps and bruises that go with skicross. But when she felt her face droop and experienced paralysis down her left side after waking one morning, she went to the hospital, where she was diagnosed with a minor stroke. After five days in the hospital followed by more treatment, she was back on the slopes and competing just four months later.