Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : February 9th 2014 Contents A46
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TALLINN---The Estonian Olympic Committee says
retired cross-country Olympic champion Kristina
Smigun-Vahi is suspected of doping at the 2006
Winter Games in Turin.
Secretary general Siim Sukles tells The
Associated Press his organisation received an
International Olympic Committee letter in
December raising the suspicions. He declined to
A Russian sports Web site reported this week
that "one or two" Estonian cross-country skiers
failed retests on samples from Turin. Sukles said
yesterday that only Smigun-Vahi is suspected of
In a statement Friday, Smigun-Vahi confirmed
that her sample had come under new suspicion but
denied ever using banned substances.
The IOC stores samples for eight years to allow
for retesting. The IOC retested more than 200
samples from Turin in recent months. The results
of those tests have not been announced. (AP)
Estonia Olympic champion suspected of doping
KRASNAYA---One skier bloodied
his face. Another blew out his knee
in a nasty fall. All told, ten of 55
starters failed to make it all the way
down the slope.
And that was just the training runs.
The potential for crashes and seri-
ous injury will be high when the men s
downhill at the Sochi Olympics opens
the Alpine skiing medal events today
on a course that is as tough as they
"It s very treacherous," Bode Miller
said after leading the final training.
"This course has teeth everywhere.
The top is aggressive. And the speeds
are so high and swingy and bumpy,
that you can hook an edge anywhere."
Rok Perko of Slovenia knows that
now. The first starter yesterday, Perko
took the wrong direction off a jump
three-fourths of the way down and
ended up with his face bloodied and
a broken nose, plus a few bruises that
will keep him out of today s race.
American downhiller Marco Sul-
livan, the next starter, ran into trouble
when he lost focus for an instant over
the Bear s Brow jump a little farther
Sullivan s skis clicked together and
he was heading for the safety netting
until he managed a last-second recov-
"Luckily, I was able to stay with it.
It wouldn t have been good," said Sul-
livan, who is from Squaw Valley, Cal-
ifornia. "It was definitely an adrenaline
Brice Roger of France, the third
starter, broke both the bone and the
ligaments in his right knee in a fall
on the top section.
Miller watched the accidents as he
was waiting to ski.
"(Sullivan) almost killed himself. I
mean, if that crash doesn t go just
the way it went, he goes flying through
B-nets, going 75 (mph), straight into
the trees," Miller said. "That angle
that he was going at right there is the
worst spill zone in the entire course.
It s just one of those things. And if
you re not totally focused and paying
attention, this course can kill you."
At 3.5-kilometres, the Rosa Khutor
course is longer than all the World
Cup downhills except for the classic
piste in Wengen, Switzerland. But
unlike Wengen, there are no long glid-
ing sections where racers can recover
for a moment and regain their breath.
"It s relentless," said Steven Nyman,
another American. "It turns three-
fourths of the way down and then
you think, OK, I can relax. And then
it s just bumps on the flats and you
think, Great, I m just going to rattle.
And then you have to take off these
jumps and be in a balanced position.
If it s smooth it s much safer off those
jumps but if you have those rattles
you have to prepare for that."
The course features three big jumps,
the first of which, the Russian Tram-
poline, has a landing area so icy and
hard that it resembles an ice hockey
If someone s knee buckles, it won t
"I think (crashes) will be part of
the game," Erik Guay of Canada said.
"There are some wild factors on the
way down. But the solid skiers looked
Adding to the difficulty is that the
snow-type changes as skiers navigate
their way down. It s grippy up top in
the course s most twisty and technical
section, icy in the middle off the Russ-
ian Trampoline and then spring-like
at the bottom, which also has two
"It s a dangerous course, no ques-
tion about it," said Guay, who won
the classic downhill in Val Gardena,
Italy, in December. "Especially if you re
not skiing confident and strong. It s
going to separate the great skiers from
the other skiers."
Two years ago during the Olympic
test event here, three top skiers came
away with serious knee injuries---
Miller, downhill winner Beat Feuz,
and Ivica Kostelic, who won the
The interesting thing about the
injuries to Miller and Feuz was that
they were not apparent at first. It was
only days later that the pain set in.
"The Russian Trampoline jump is
very high, the impact is very big," said
Kostelic, who won t race the downhill
here but has trained on it for the
super-combined. "I don t think that
anyone is going to injure himself from
just one jump. But day after day hit-
ting the joints, it counts later."
With so much terrain to cover and
so much to focus on in runs that last
more than two minutes, fatigue and
mental focus also will be factors.
"You either came in fit and ready
to go or you re hurting right now and
that probably plays on your mind,"
Nyman said his legs felt like they
were "burning" when he got to the
"You re just huffing and puffing,"
the skier from Sundance, Utah, said.
"Yesterday I was laughing at how
hard I was breathing, but I couldn t
laugh because I was breathing too
Meryl Davis and Charlie White of the United States
compete in the team ice dance short dance figure
skating competition at the Iceberg Skating Palace
during the 2014 Winter Olympics, yesterday in Sochi,
Russia. AP PHOTO
Spain's Paul de la Cuesta comes to a halt at the end of a men's downhill
training run for the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, yesterday, in Krasnaya
Polyana, Russia. AP PHOTO
US wins team short dance,
Russia takes women's
SOCHI---Teen sensation Julia Lip-
nitskaia won the women s short
programme yesterday to give Rus-
sia the lead in the new team event
heading into the free skate com-
petitions at the Sochi Olympics.
With a scintillating performance,
the 15-year-old easily edged five-
time European champion Carolina
Kostner of Italy and two-time world
champion Mao Asada of Japan. It
gave Russia 37 points, ahead of
Canada with 32, and the United
States with 27.
Also advancing were Japan (24)
and Italy (23). The five nations were
to compete in the pairs free skate
Earlier, world champions Meryl
Davis and Charlie White quick-
stepped their way to victory in the
team short dance, lifting the US into
the medals hunt.
Defending champions Tessa Virtue
and Scott Moir of Canada were sec-
can kill you
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