By Bob Barnett
SAN SICARIO, Italy – Kelly Vanderbeek and Emily Brydon seemed to recover from the shock of losing teammate Allison Forsyth to a knee injury as they looked solid in the final downhill training run today.
Vanderbeek set the pace on the San Sicario Fraiteve course Tuesday, finishing in 1 minute, 55.23 seconds.
“I was trying to hold the race line and I went full speed just to see how the course skis today,” Vanderbeek said.
Brydon held back in preparation for Wednesday’s race but still finished 10 th today, .82 seconds behind Vanderbeek.
“I have more in the tank for tomorrow,” Brydon said. “I wasn’t too aggressive today but I had fun just checking out the course. Tomorrow I’m definitely going to switch gears.”
The icy, rolling course claimed a number of top skiers Monday, including Forsyth who ruptured knee ligaments. Others injured included defending Olympic downhill champion Carole Montillet-Carles and American Lindsey Kildow.
“Any time in a downhill race when some of the top skiers go down there will be questions,” said Max Gartner, chief athletic officer for Alpine Canada.
“The snow is dry and at this very high altitude it becomes what we call very aggressive snow, but easy to catch an edge.”
Forsyth said she thought the course was safe.
“I think the course was safe enough,” she said Monday from a hospital in Torino. “It was a very difficult course as far as the condition of the snow and only as far as the conditions of the snow. The condition of the snow was nobody’s fault but nature.”
Because she finished first today Vanderbeek will start 30 th in tomorrow’s Olympic downhill. However, as men’s Olympic downhill champ Antoine Deneriaz showed Sunday and Bode Miller showed in the downhill portion of today’s combined event, starting in the 30s is no impediment to winning.
Sweden’s Anja Paerson was second in the final training run, .07 seconds behind Vanderbeek, while American Julia Mancuso was third, .09 seconds off the pace.
Sherry Lawrence and Shona Rubens, the other Canadians who took part in today’s training run, finished 28 th and 30 th respectively. Brigitte Acton did not start.
The forecast for tomorrow’s race calls for partly cloudy skies.