AP NEWS

The Latest: Mayer quickest in downhill training

February 7, 2019
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Austria's Matthias Mayer speeds down the course during training for the men's downhill, at the alpine ski World Championships in Are, Sweden, Monday, Feb. 4, 2019. (AP Photo/Gabriele Facciotti)

ARE, Sweden (AP) — The Latest from the skiing world championships (all times local):

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2:35 p.m.

Two-time Olympic champion Matthias Mayer was fastest in the first downhill training at the world championships, ahead of a trio of Norwegian racers.

Mayer, the 2014 Olympic downhill champion, was 0.28 seconds ahead of Austrian teammate Hannes Reichelt, who posted the second quickest time but missed a gate on his run.

Then came Aleksander Kilde, Kjetil Jansrud and Aksel Lund Svindal, who will lead Norway’s bid for gold in Saturday’s race.

Svindal, the defending Olympic downhill champion, will be competing in his last race before retirement. He was 0.55 seconds off Mayer’s time.

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1:40 p.m.

The president of the International Ski Federation has apologized after a story in a Swiss newspaper quoted him as saying he preferred countries with “dictatorships” to host major sports competitions.

Gian Franco Kasper said his comments “were not meant to be taken literally but this was not clear in the final story.” He says he is sorry for the “misunderstanding” that has “taken attention away from our athletes” at the skiing world championships in Sweden.

The 75-year-old Kasper was quoted as saying in the interview with Tages-Anzeiger that “dictators can organize (big) events ... without asking the people’s permission” and that “from the business side, I say: I just want to go to dictatorships, I do not want to argue with environmentalists.”

Norwegian skier Aksel Lund Svindal described Kasper’s remarks as “stupid” and “complete gibberish.”

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12:15 p.m.

Defending Alpine combined world champion Wendy Holdener was the top skier in the final downhill training session before Friday’s race.

The Swiss racer finished 0.10 seconds ahead of a pair of Austrians, Ricarda Haaser and Tamara Tippler.

Skier-snowboarder Ester Ledecka was fourth, one hundredth further back.

Stephanie Venier, another Austrian, posted the fastest time but she missed a gate during her run.

The course was shortened because of unfavorable conditions on the upper section.

Lindsey Vonn, American teammate Laurenne Ross and Christina Ager of Austria — each of whom crashed in Tuesday’s super-G — did not start.

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10:25 a.m.

Lindsey Vonn is sitting out downhill training again, two days after her crash in the super-G at the world championships.

Vonn got the wind knocked out of her after hitting the safety nets and was left with bruises on her face and a puffy right eye .

Vonn’s spokeswoman Claire Abbe tells The Associated Press, “She’s good, just resting. She’ll plan to run the course again for sure before Sunday.”

The 34-year-old Vonn has announced she will retire after Sunday’s downhill.

She already completed one downhill training run on Monday — meaning that technically she does not need to start another one to race.

Conditions for Thursday’s training runs — for men and women — were much warmer than earlier in the week, at minus-4 degrees C (25 degrees F).

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Austria's Matthias Mayer speeds down the course during training for the men's downhill, at the alpine ski World Championships in Are, Sweden, Monday, Feb. 4, 2019. (AP Photo/Gabriele Facciotti)