WHISTLER, British Columbia - Calling the Olympic sliding track "stupid fast," American women's bobsledder Shauna Rohbock said the venue where a luger was killed last week could generate speeds that are too dangerous for racing.
"It's just so fast," Rohbock said Friday night, later adding, "I think they went a little overboard on this track."
In an interview with The Associated Press, the silver medalist at the 2006 Turin Games said she has felt this way since testing out the course for the first time nearly two years ago.
Rohbock said speeds in the final turns of the 16-curve track were pushing the boundaries of what she thought she could handle.
"I wish everybody knew what we saw at the bottom," Rohbock said. "Your brain almost can't catch up with what your hands need to do. I think at some point it's going to exceed that and that's when problems will happen."
Asked if she has ever experienced speeds similar to the ones on Whistler's track, she said, "Never." "St. Moritz is one of the fastest tracks, but it's spread out. I think the problem here is the curves are back to back in the bottom. They are really close and with the speed and having them back to back as soon as you get in trouble it just multiplies, and then it's trouble."
Rohbock and many of the women's bobsled ders who will compete on the track next week got their first on-ice look at the facility during a supplemental training session Friday night. The extra session was added by international officials earlier this week to help racers familiarize themselves with the demanding track. The session was added following the death of Georgian luger Nodar Kumarishtavili, who was killed when he lost control of his sled in the final curve.
Of the 14 drivers who made themselves available after training Saturday, only one - American Erin Pac - said she didn't feel completely safe on the ice. Pac, though, also said that while the course is "definitely a challenge," high speed is "part of the sport." She also said she had no reservations about competing on the track.