KRASNAYA POLYANA — Americans took four of the top eight spots in Saturday’s women’s downhill training run, an encouraging sign for a group that has been flailing for much of the World Cup season.
Olympic rookie Jackie Wiles led the way in fourth, behind the Swiss pair of Dominique Gisin and Lara Gut and Sweden’s Kajsa Kling. Wiles said she missed a gate near the top of the course – which would disqualify her on race day — but she skied superbly from that point on.
“I got fired up,” said the 21-year-old Oregonian, “and the rest of it was good.”
Wiles was just ahead of Laurenne Ross in fifth, Stacey Cook in sixth and Julia Mancuso in eighth, all within .76 of a second of each other. That group will represent the U.S. in Wednesday’s downhill, with Leanne Smith replacing Wiles – who has never finished better than 15th in her 11 World Cup starts — in Monday’s super-combined.
The fourth and final training session will take place Sunday morning before the start of the men’s downhill, which opens the Alpine competition.