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February 16, 2006
SAN SICARIO, Italy (AP Press Release)—The first snowfall here in weeks forced the cancellation Thursday of downhill training a day ahead of the women’s Alpine skiing combined event.
Medal contenders Janica Kostelic of Croatia and Lindsey Kildow of the United States said Thursday they plan to compete in Friday’s race, despite illness and injury.
The combined is the most grueling event in Alpine skiing _ it includes one downhill leg and two slalom runs. Despite the morning snow, competitors could train for the slalom Thursday afternoon.
About 3 inches of snow accumulated Thursday morning and visibility was poor, so officials opted to forgo the only scheduled training on an Olympic downhill course that the women already have had four chances to ski _ Wednesday’s medal race and the three trainings leading up to it.
Kildow plans to ski the combined, U.S. women’s coach Patrick Riml said. After a remarkable 48-hour recovery from a crash, Kildow finished eighth in the downhill. After the race, still in pain, she had said she might skip the combined to concentrate on the three other medal races.
Kostelic has a fever but is feeling better after sitting out Wednesday’s downhill with a high pulse, a Croatian team spokesman said.
“She really wants to compete, spokesman Ozren Mueller said of the triple gold medalist from the 2002 Olympics. “I would say her chances of competing tomorrow are 90 percent.
Meanwhile, course officials spent Thursday clearing the fresh snow off the course.
Copyright © 2006 The Associated Press