Competitors in the men's downhill ski race have been making practice runs on the hazardous Patscherkofel run in Innsbruck for the Winter Olympic event on Thursday (5 January).
SV LV Franz Klammer out of gate and down run
TRAVEL SHOT FOLLOWING skier downhill
LV PAN Klammer finishes run (2 shots)
LV Canadian skier crashes
SV Canadian Dave Irwin No. 5 crashes badly against barricade
SV & LV Crowd watches as Ken Read (Canada No. 7) comes down hill (3 shots)
CU & LV Steiner (No. 12) starts and races downhill (3 shots)
Initials BB/2330 AMN/MR/BB/2345
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Background: Competitors in the men's downhill ski race have been making practice runs on the hazardous Patscherkofel run in Innsbruck for the Winter Olympic event on Thursday (5 January).
Austrian champion Franz Klammer -- winner of eight out of nine downhill last season and four this season -- is the undisputed favourite for the glamour speed event.
But in the training runs on Monday (2 February) Klammer was only the seventh fastest in the timed session, clocking 1 minute 49.96 seconds over the icy 3,145 yard (metre) Patscherkofel run. The fastest time was set by fellow Austrian Anton Steiner, 0.35 of a second faster, three hundredths better than Canadian Ken Read.
Steiner's time was nearly seven seconds faster than Klammer's winning performance in last year's pre-Olympic trial race, an indication of how much faster organisers have made the run by cutting the bends.
As none of the skiers were racing at full speed and most finished upright, the winning time on Thursday is likely to be three or four seconds faster unless snow conditions change.
In the trials, the Canadians and the Swiss appeared to be the only rivals for the Austrians. In the day's timings four Austrians, two Canadians and two Swiss were the only men to get below one minute 50 seconds.