Sat, Jan 28, 2006 - Page 8 News List

Kristian Ghedina blasts down Kandahar course

AP , GARMISCH-PARTENKIRCHEN, GERMANY

Italy's Kristian Ghedina lights the brazier in Cortina d' Ampezzo, Italy, as the Olympic flame reached this Italian Alps resort on Thursday. The flame will cover 11,300km throughout Italy involving 10,000 torchbearers, gondolas, a Ferrari sports car and a cavalry regiment before arriving in Turin for the opening ceremony on Feb. 10.

PHOTO: AP

Kristian Ghedina of Italy posted the fastest time in men's World Cup downhill training on Thursday, then boarded a helicopter to fly to Italy to carry the Olympic torch.

The 36 year-old Ghedina finished the 3,455m Kandahar course in 1 minute, 58.92 seconds. Daron Rahlves, who grumbled about the lack of ice, was second in 1:59.36.

"It's a little more grippy than it normally is, the first couple turns," Rahlves said. "Downhill racing is changing these days. It's getting a little slower, bigger turns and softer snow, there's some ice in a few spots but not like Garmisch usually is."

Fritz Strobl of Austria, skiing with a plastic shell to protect his broken hand, finished third with a time of 1:59.76.

Strobl underwent surgery in Salzburg after breaking his left hand in Saturday's downhill on Kitzbuehel's treacherous Streif course.

He lost control after landing on the tails of his skis during a jump, but found his footing again after smashing through a gate.

After training, Ghedina flew to his home town of Cortina, Italy, where the women are racing and is scheduled to run a leg with the Olympic torch. Cortina is the only other Italian city to have been awarded the Olympics.

Ghedina will be flown back to Garmisch-Partenkirchen in time for Friday's final training, with the race scheduled for Saturday. A super-G is scheduled for Sunday.

"I'm so proud that I can bring the torch to Cortina and happy to spread the Olympic spirit in my home town where I used to hear stories about the 1956 Olympics from my parents and people here," Ghedina said.

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