Womens training disrupted by safety fears

Athlete safety has come into focus in Sochi following Shaun White’s decision to pull out on Wednesday.

Athlete safety has come into focus in Sochi following Shaun White’s decision to pull out on Wednesday. Picture: Supplied.

ROSA KHUTOR, Russia - Safety concerns forced Sochi Olympics organisers to halt the first training run for the women's downhill on Thursday, with American Laurenne Ross describing her descent as "intimidating".

Ross was the first woman down a piste bathed in dazzling sunshine and only two more runs took place before training was stopped to let workers shave snow off a hump near the finish.

Athlete safety has come sharply into focus in Sochi following snowboarding star Shaun White's decision to pull out of the slopestyle event on Wednesday. The opening ceremony for Russia's first winter Olympics is on Friday.

Action resumed after a delay of about an hour and while Austria's Anna Fenninger set the fastest time many of the favourites for next Wednesday's showpiece race were using it purely as a chance to familiarise themselves with racing lines.

"You just get really high off the ground, the slope just drops off and you're still going straight and that's the problem because you feel like you're just not going to come down," Ross told reporters.

"When you come down you come down pretty hard. If we get any more speed over the next few days I think it would be better to have that shaved off.

"I felt like, 'You're welcome, I'll be your test dummy'", the 25-year-old Ross said.

"I was definitely intimidated. But I'm happy that I was the first skier to go down in the Olympics."