Alice McKennis earns spot in Wednesday’s Olympic downhill
JEONGSEON, South Korea — Alice McKennis, of New Castle, clinched her start for Wednesday, Feb. 21’s Olympic downhill with another strong training run Monday, Feb. 19.
“I’m obviously really psyched on today,” she said. “A lot of riding on today’s training run with the qualification for the downhill race. I’m so thrilled to have clinched my spot. It’s a huge relief to know I can relax for a little bit for the next 36 hours and get ready to go on Wednesday.”
McKennis finished in ninth place in Monday’s training run, with a time of 1 minute, 41.16 seconds. Lindsey Vonn was the top American, finishing in third place with a time of 1 minute, 40.10 seconds.
Among the other U.S. skiers, Breezy Johnson was 12th, Mikaela Shiffrin was 16th and Laurenne Ross was 19th.
Vonn and Shiffrin have already clinched spots in Wednesday’s downhill based on results from the World Cup season. The top finisher among the remaining women in Monday’s training earned a spot in the downhill — that was McKennis.
Shiffrin said late Monday that she wouldn’t compete in Wednesday’s downhill, which will open up another spot.
The last spot will be chosen by the coaches and announced Tuesday, Feb. 20.
McKennis had the third-fastest time in Sunday, Feb. 18’s downhill training, trailing only Vonn and Ramona Siebenhofer, of Austria.
“It was a good first training run,” McKennis said after Sunday’s training run. “The conditions are really good out there. The snow is really well prepared, grippy and feels really good underfoot, which makes for a fun course.”
She said she figured out the tricky top traverse near the start gate, which gives her a lot of confidence moving forward.
“Overall, in general, a decent run, but kind of flailing off some of the jumps, so definitely need to tighten that up in the air and tighten up the line in spots, but feeling excited in general,” she said.
McKennis, competing in her second Olympics, finished 16th in Saturday, Feb. 17’s super-G.