Olympic downhill course gets rave reviews

Tue Feb 19, 2008 6:24pm EST
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By Steve Keating

WHISTLER, British Columbia (Reuters) - The women's downhill course that will be used at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Games received rave reviews on Tuesday as skiers got there first look at the Olympic layout.

World Cup veterans and newcomers gave the 2,879-metre Franz's Downhill their stamp of approval following the first of three scheduled training runs ahead of Friday's downhill race that will also serve as an Olympic test event.

"You can say Canada has a really good Olympic downhill," Austrian speed queen Renate Goetschl told reporters. "I have seen Whistler for the first time and I am very impressed.

"I am happy that it is like a downhill because the last Olympic downhills have not been so attractive for us. Canada can be happy to have this downhill.

"It's really unique. Every downhill is unique but this one is really special. There's everything in there."

With 24 downhill victories among her 46 career World Cup wins, Goetschl's evaluation carries added weight but the former overall World Cup champion was not alone in her praise.

"It's a very worthy Olympic course," said Sweden's Anja Paerson, a two-time overall World Cup champion and downhill bronze medalist at the 2006 Turin Games.

"Maybe it would have been nice to have a little speedier section at some part but you can't have everything.   Continued...